The Roots

The Tipping Point (Geffen Records)

The Roots' new record is the result of a collection of jam sessions over a span of several weeks. Gone are the experimentation, the abstract sounds and the neo-soul. Tipping Point is straight-up raw, unadulterated hip-hop. Over the course of the album, the players primarily lie back in the cut and let Black Thought shine. On "Web," though, he brings a no-holds-barred lyrical assault, sans chorus, over hard-hitting drum-and-bass lines, while "Boom!" finds him almost flawlessly impersonating Big Daddy Kane and Kool G Rap. As always, the production is innovative. From the Sly Stone-inspired strains of "Star" to the De La Soul tribute of "Stay Cool," the Roots keep their sound fresher and more authentic than that of most of their counterparts. This is how hip-hop should sound in 2004.

 
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