The Roots The Tipping Point

The Roots The Tipping Point
It appears that Philadelphia’s legendary Roots crew has opted to set up shop on the notch they pegged for themselves with their last effort, Phrenology, which was a head-scratcher more than a head-nodder to say the least. The Tipping Point is not as complex and difficult as their last joint though — delivering simplistic grooves for Black Thought to let loose with and giving birth to one of the Roots’ most accessible ventures. Though there’s really no significant progression in their approach this time around, it by no means gives the crew a green light to phone their jams in. Just as you would expect, The Tipping Point balances slow jazz cuts with thumping jeep beats, and it’s the latter that spawn the greater moments. "Guns Are Drawn” simply combines a sharp snare from ?uestlove with guitar riffs while "Web” is even more stripped down to just high hat and a single bass pluck, and these formulas have no problem making your neck snap. The Roots do stray from their own sound a little, with some more commercial friendly tracks that will sit well in the club, such as "Don’t Say Nuthin’,” which sounds like something that may have come from the wastebasket of Flipmode Squad, but somehow it works rather than making you reach for the remote. Al Hirt’s "Harlem Hendo” record gets dusted off ten years later after De La’s "Ego Trippin’” to make a dominant appearance for "Stay Cool” which could be the best moment on this album, even though it has a backing vocal similar to Pharrel Williams. A mere ten tracks make up The Tipping Point, which is completely refreshing for a hip-hop record, seeing as some of the greatest albums of all time clock in at 30 minutes. They’ve dropped skits, shed the fat, sprinkled a little Jean Grae and Big Daddy Kane and with that the Roots have given us a solid, simple hip-hop gift that might not break down barriers, but just confirms that this crew continues to come correct. Just don’t stick around for the hidden track. (Geffen)