Raymond Fiore
July 16, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

If 2002’s ”Phrenology” was the Philly crew’s left-field rock-rap opus, their sixth studio effort is an eclectic and often breezy reimagining of hip-hop’s energetic essence. ”Boom” is a lightning-paced evocation of late-’80s Rakim, while standout bonus track ”In Love With (the Mic),” boasting assists from incorrigible scene-stealers Dave Chappelle and ODB, recalls the loose, amped-up collaborations of the Native Tongues movement (e.g., the Jungle Brothers and Black Sheep). One of hip-hop’s premier album artists, the Roots could still stand to strengthen their singles prospects: Their most club-friendly track ever, the Scott Storch-produced ”Duck Down,” has everything going for it — except a chorus to sing along to.

You May Like