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The Roots|Phrenology

Phrenology

The Roots

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The easy-flowing Things Fall Apart made the Roots one of the most popular artists of alternative rap's second wave. Anticipated nearly as much as it was delayed, the proper studio follow-up, Phrenology, finally appeared in late 2002, after much perfectionist tinkering by the band -- so much that the liner notes include recording dates (covering a span of two years) and, sometimes, histories for the individual tracks. Coffeehouse music programmers beware: Phrenology is not Things Fall Apart redux; it's a challenging, hugely ambitious opus that's by turns brilliant and bewildering, as it strains to push the very sound of hip-hop into the future. Despite a few gentler tracks (like the Nelly Furtado and Jill Scott guest spots), Phrenology is the hardest-hitting Roots album to date, partly because it's their most successful attempt to re-create their concert punch in the studio. ?uestlove's drums positively boom out of the speakers on the Talib Kweli duet "Rolling With Heat"; the fantastic, lean guitar groover "The Seed (2.0)" (with neo-soul auteur Cody ChesnuTT); and the opening section of "Water." The ten-minute "Water" is the album's centerpiece, a powerful look at former Roots MC Malik B.'s drug problems that morphs into a downright avant-garde sound collage. Similarly, lead single "Break You Off," a neo-soul duet with Musiq, winds up in a melange of drum'n'bass programming and live strings. If moves like those, or the speed-blur Bad Brains punk of "!!!!!!!," or the drum'n'bass backdrop of poet Amiri Baraka's "Something in the Way of Things (In Town)" can seem self-consciously eclectic, it's also true that Phrenology is one of those albums where the indulgences and far-out experiments make it that much more fascinating, whether they work or not. Plus, slamming grooves like "Rock You," "Thought @ Work," and the aforementioned "The Seed (2.0)" keep things exciting and vital. If this really is the future of hip-hop, then the sky is the limit. [The two hidden bonus tracks are "Rhymes and Ammo," the Talib Kweli collaboration that appeared on Soundbombing, Vol. 3, and "Something to See," another techno-inflected jam.]
© Steve Huey /TiVo

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Phrenology

The Roots

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1
Phrentrow Explicit
00:00:20

Chris Gehringer, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tom Coyne, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Shinobu Mitsuoka, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson, ComposerLyricist - Ahmir Thompson, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Ursula Rucker, FeaturedArtist, ComposerLyricist - ?uestlove, Producer - Omar Edwards, Harp, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - The Roots, MainArtist - Steve Mandel, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Michelle Golder, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Ken Golder, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Nuah Vi, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Sarah Chun, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Omar The Scholar, Producer

℗ 2002 UMG Recordings, Inc.

2
Rock You Explicit
00:03:12

George Spivey, ComposerLyricist - Chris Gehringer, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Richard Nichols, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Tom Coyne, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ray Wilson, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Tariq Trotter, ComposerLyricist - Vince Dilorenzo, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Russell "The Dragon" Elevado, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ahmir Thompson, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - The Roots, MainArtist - Steve Mandel, Assistant Mixer, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Robert "LB" Dorsey, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Caliph Gamble, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - D.J. Scratch, Producer - The Grand Wizzards, Producer, Co-Producer - Jon Smelts, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Charles McCory, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2002 UMG Recordings, Inc.

3
!!!!!!! Explicit
00:00:24

Leonard Hubbard, ComposerLyricist - Ben Kenney, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Chris Gehringer, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tom Coyne, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jeff Chestek, Mixer, Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ray Wilson, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Carlos Martinez, Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jesse Peretz, Video Director, FilmDirector - Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson, ComposerLyricist - Ahmir Thompson, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - The Roots, MainArtist - Benjamin Kenney, ComposerLyricist - Caliph Gamble, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - The Grand Wizzards, Producer - Lynn Pateman, Video Producer, FilmProducer

℗ 2002 UMG Recordings, Inc.

4
Sacrifice Explicit
00:04:44

Leonard Hubbard, ComposerLyricist - Bob Power, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Kamal Gray, Producer, Co-Producer - Chris Gehringer, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tom Coyne, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Nelly Furtado, FeaturedArtist - Jeff Chestek, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Storm, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tariq Trotter, ComposerLyricist - Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson, ComposerLyricist - The Roots, MainArtist - James Gray, ComposerLyricist - Robert "LB" Dorsey, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Andy Brooks, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Jon Smelts, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gordon Gass, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Kamiah Gray, Producer, Piano, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2002 UMG Recordings, Inc.

5
Rolling With Heat Explicit
00:03:42

Chris Gehringer, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Richard Nichols, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Karl Jenkins, ComposerLyricist - Tom Coyne, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Pablo Arraya, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Jason Goldstein, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Talib Kweli, Artist, Rap Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Tariq Trotter, ComposerLyricist - Jon Smeltz, Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Vince Dilorenzo, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson, ComposerLyricist - Ahmir Thompson, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - The Roots, MainArtist - Kyle Jones, ComposerLyricist - James Gray, ComposerLyricist - Dice Raw, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Knuckles, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - The Grand Wizzards, Producer - Gordon Glass, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2002 UMG Recordings, Inc.

6
Thought @ Work Explicit
00:00:59

Leonard Hubbard, ComposerLyricist - Chris Gehringer, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tom Coyne, Mixer, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jeff Chestek, Engineer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson, ComposerLyricist - Ahmir Thompson, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Ursula Rucker, Artist, Spoken Word, AssociatedPerformer - The Roots, MainArtist - James Gray, ComposerLyricist - Knuckles, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Caliph Gamble, Assistant Mixer, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The Grand Wizzards, Producer

℗ 2002 UMG Recordings, Inc.

7
Thought @ Work Explicit
00:04:43

Leonard Hubbard, ComposerLyricist - Chris Gehringer, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tom Coyne, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Steef van de Gevel, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ray Wilson, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Vince Dilorenzo, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Russell "The Dragon" Elevado, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson, ComposerLyricist - Ahmir Thompson, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jon Adler, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - ?uestlove, Producer - The Roots, MainArtist - Benjamin Kenney, ComposerLyricist - James Gray, ComposerLyricist - Steve Mandel, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jon Smelts, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gordon Gass, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2002 UMG Recordings, Inc.

8
The Seed (2.0) Explicit
00:04:27

Chris Gehringer, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tom Coyne, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Steef van de Gevel, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Ray Wilson, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tariq Trotter, ComposerLyricist - Carlos Martinez, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Russell "The Dragon" Elevado, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ahmir Thompson, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - ?uestlove, Producer - Jesse Shatkin, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The Roots, MainArtist - Cody Chesnutt, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Cody Chestnutt, FeaturedArtist - Steve Mandel, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Kurt Nepogoda, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jon Smelts, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2002 UMG Recordings, Inc.

9
Break You Off Explicit
00:07:27

Leonard Hubbard, ComposerLyricist - Bob Power, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Kamal Gray, Producer - Chris Gehringer, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Richard Nichols, Producer, Mixer, Executive Producer, StudioPersonnel - Tom Coyne, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Pablo Arraya, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Jason Goldstein, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Jeff Chestek, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ray Wilson, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - James Poyser, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Jon Smeltz, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jim Bottari, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Carlos Martinez, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jill Scott, ComposerLyricist - Vince Dilorenzo, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson, ComposerLyricist - Ahmir Thompson, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Musiq, Producer, Additional Producer, Vocal Arranger, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Omar Edwards, Harp, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - The Roots, Producer, MainArtist - Taalib Johnson, ComposerLyricist - Benjamin Kenney, ComposerLyricist - Kyle Jones, ComposerLyricist - James Gray, ComposerLyricist - Knuckles, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Andy Brooks, Assistant Mixer, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Caliph Gamble, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Andre Dandridge, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gordon Gass, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Michelle Golder, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Ken Golder, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Nuah Vi, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Sarah Chun, Cello, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2002 UMG Recordings, Inc.

10
Water The First Movement / Water The Abyss / Water The Drowning Explicit
00:10:24

Leonard Hubbard, ComposerLyricist - Chris Gehringer, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tom Coyne, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tariq Trotter, ComposerLyricist - Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson, ComposerLyricist - The Roots, MainArtist - Benjamin Kenney, ComposerLyricist - Kyle Jones, ComposerLyricist - Tahir Williams, ComposerLyricist - James Gray, ComposerLyricist - Kelo Saunders, Producer, Co-Producer - Tahir of Hedrush Inc, Producer

℗ 2002 UMG Recordings, Inc.

11
Quills Explicit
00:03:46

Karriem Riggins, ComposerLyricist - Chris Gehringer, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Richard Nichols, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Tom Coyne, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tariq Trotter, ComposerLyricist - Jon Smeltz, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jim Bottari, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Vince Dilorenzo, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Russell "The Dragon" Elevado, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Ahmir Thompson, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - James McCrone, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The Roots, MainArtist - Tracey Moore, Artist, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Knuckles, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Robert "LB" Dorsey, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gordon Gass, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Kareem da bawl, Producer

℗ 2002 UMG Recordings, Inc.

12
Pussy Galore Explicit
00:04:29

Bob Power, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Chris Gehringer, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Scott Storch, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Tom Coyne, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tariq Trotter, ComposerLyricist - Russell "The Dragon" Elevado, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The Roots, MainArtist - Steve Mandel, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tracey Moore, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Robert "LB" Dorsey, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Shawn Taylor, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Adam Brooks, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Scott Whiting, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2002 UMG Recordings, Inc.

13
Complexity Explicit
00:04:47

Leonard Hubbard, ComposerLyricist - Bob Power, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Chris Gehringer, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Richard Nichols, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Tom Coyne, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jeff Chestek, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tariq Trotter, ComposerLyricist - Carlos Martinez, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jill Scott, FeaturedArtist, ComposerLyricist - Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson, ComposerLyricist - Ahmir Thompson, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Omar Edwards, Harp, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - The Roots, MainArtist - James Gray, ComposerLyricist - Knuckles, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Gordon Gass, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2002 UMG Recordings, Inc.

14
Something In The Way Of Things (In Town) (Album Version (Explicit)) Explicit
00:06:45

Chris Gehringer, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tom Coyne, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Steef van de Gevel, Assistant Mixer, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Amiri Baraka, ComposerLyricist - Russell "The Dragon" Elevado, Mixer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson, ComposerLyricist - Ahmir Thompson, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - ?uestlove, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The Roots, MainArtist - Benjamin Kenney, ComposerLyricist - Steve Mandel, Mixer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The Grand Wizzards, Producer

℗ 2002 UMG Recordings, Inc.

15
Rhymes And Ammo (Album Version (Explicit)) Explicit
00:04:30

Leonard Hubbard, ComposerLyricist - Chris Gehringer, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tom Coyne, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Talib Kweli, ComposerLyricist - Tariq Trotter, ComposerLyricist - Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson, ComposerLyricist - The Roots, MainArtist - Benjamin Kenney, ComposerLyricist - James Gray, ComposerLyricist - The Grand Wizzards, Producer

℗ 2002 UMG Recordings, Inc.

16
Thirsty! (CD Album Version) Explicit
00:02:48

Chris Gehringer, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tom Coyne, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ahmir Thompson, ComposerLyricist - The Roots, MainArtist - The Grand Wizzards, Producer

℗ 2002 UMG Recordings, Inc.

Album Description

The easy-flowing Things Fall Apart made the Roots one of the most popular artists of alternative rap's second wave. Anticipated nearly as much as it was delayed, the proper studio follow-up, Phrenology, finally appeared in late 2002, after much perfectionist tinkering by the band -- so much that the liner notes include recording dates (covering a span of two years) and, sometimes, histories for the individual tracks. Coffeehouse music programmers beware: Phrenology is not Things Fall Apart redux; it's a challenging, hugely ambitious opus that's by turns brilliant and bewildering, as it strains to push the very sound of hip-hop into the future. Despite a few gentler tracks (like the Nelly Furtado and Jill Scott guest spots), Phrenology is the hardest-hitting Roots album to date, partly because it's their most successful attempt to re-create their concert punch in the studio. ?uestlove's drums positively boom out of the speakers on the Talib Kweli duet "Rolling With Heat"; the fantastic, lean guitar groover "The Seed (2.0)" (with neo-soul auteur Cody ChesnuTT); and the opening section of "Water." The ten-minute "Water" is the album's centerpiece, a powerful look at former Roots MC Malik B.'s drug problems that morphs into a downright avant-garde sound collage. Similarly, lead single "Break You Off," a neo-soul duet with Musiq, winds up in a melange of drum'n'bass programming and live strings. If moves like those, or the speed-blur Bad Brains punk of "!!!!!!!," or the drum'n'bass backdrop of poet Amiri Baraka's "Something in the Way of Things (In Town)" can seem self-consciously eclectic, it's also true that Phrenology is one of those albums where the indulgences and far-out experiments make it that much more fascinating, whether they work or not. Plus, slamming grooves like "Rock You," "Thought @ Work," and the aforementioned "The Seed (2.0)" keep things exciting and vital. If this really is the future of hip-hop, then the sky is the limit. [The two hidden bonus tracks are "Rhymes and Ammo," the Talib Kweli collaboration that appeared on Soundbombing, Vol. 3, and "Something to See," another techno-inflected jam.]
© Steve Huey /TiVo

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