On the title track of the new legendary Roots crew record How I Got Over, lead rapper Black Thought and guest mc Dice Raw sings — yes, sings — one of the most infectious and socially conscious choruses I’ve heard all year.
Out in the streets, where I grew up (How I got over)
The first thing they teach you is not to give a f- (How I got over)
That type of thinking will get you nowhere (somebody, somewhere)
Someone has to care
How you get over? Are we “running out of time out here”? The struggle is alive and well and the Next Movement is back to remind us of it with a 42-minute album that will keep your head checkin’ it and your soul questionin’.
But you’ll keep coming back to this title track, about these damn cold streets, where “every man is for himself” and this “warzone” — this endless war on our poor. “Where no body cares about you, only thing you’ve got is God.” After hearing it, you’ll be thankful for someone to worry about you.
With featured guests like Monsters of Folk, John Legend and Joanna Newsome, The Roots prove they’re more than just another late night house band — they’re great collaborators, making something more powerful than any one of them solo.
On “Dear God 2.0,” they loop Jim James and make a weak song shine — with a slower delivery and some rare-for-their-genre self introspection.
On “Right On,” Joanna Newsome gets “we should shine a light on” stuck in your head and it makes you want to go out and change the world.
On “Walk Alone,” Black Thought gets his “Charlie Parker on” and sing the blues.
And they’re still doing what they do best: keeping it positive with tracks like “Hustla” and “The Fire” and “rising out of the flames like a Phoenix,” like in “Doin’ it Again.”
Face it — I keep doing it well.
Doin’ it sans assistance
Just do it yourself
Doin’ it below the radar, we doin’ it stealth
Doin’ it again for Illadelph, yo who else?
These are songs that leave you proud to have overcome. That give you comfort for being among those who got over. You’ll be celebrating — and cerebrating — “The Fire.”
There’s something in your heart
And it’s in your eyes. It’s the fire. Inside ya.
Let it burn
You don’t say good luck.
You say don’t give up.
Word. You’ll be playing it again.