How I Got Over - The Roots
How I Got Over Image

Universal acclaim - based on 23 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 112 Ratings

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  • Summary: The legendary Philadelphia posse returns with its first release since playing with Late Night With Jimmy Fallon's house band. Staying true to its roots with acoustic jazz grooves and elements of rock and soul, The Roots continue its reign as one of hip-hop's most innovative acts.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. I love sampled beats. But 90 percent of the time I'd rather ride Ahmir Thompson's hand, feet, and brain.
  2. How I Got Over hearkens back to the neo-soul mellowness of The Roots' mid-'90s output, while songs like the infectious title track retain Tipping Point's pop savvy.
  3. 90
    While How I Got Over is cut from the same cloth as their last album, the fabric of it is unique to itself. It's dark and tragic in places, but also enlightening and empowering.
  4. From those opening, gorgeous, chords – their sultry delivery, their soulful demeanor, their jazzy glean, everything – signals that The Roots are back.
  5. The blood doesn't really get pumping until the fifth track. Up to that point, however, the band creates some of its most downcast and alluring material, covering solitude, self-destruction, and just about every planetary ill.
  6. Their ninth album finds the Philadelphia veterans a unique voice in hip-hop.
  7. They're driven, even though their latest venture is stylistically the most inert, contemplative, offputtingly soft music they've possibly ever released.

See all 23 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Jan 2, 2012
    The Roots never disappoint. How I Got Over is a solid album of mostly politically centered songs surrounded by the incredibly tight and infectious music of the band around Black Thought (who is making is case as the best MC alive). Overall a great album that is miles better than almost everything out right now Expand
  2. Sep 9, 2011
    In this day and age of canned commercial homogeneity, this album is a breath of fresh air and a triumph of originality. The combination of stripped down instrumental backing and serious, to the point lyrics sets a high standard for those aspiring to put out a hip hop album that transcends the confines of genre and targeted audiences. After 18 years and 10 studio album releases, the Roots are a testament to the longevity and quality that contemporary music is sorely lacking. Expand
  3. Aug 14, 2010
    Possibly in a synchronous but subconscious effort, this band (yes band) has created it's first album void of the racial overtones and what feels likes a persecution-free sound. What do they get, an elevated sound that hip hop needs (to follow) to show the music community that they can be so much more. Kudos to this band for once again expanding and pushing in a direction that truly shows the skill of members and what is now possible moving forward. Expand
  4. Feb 15, 2012
    This is an album that grows on you more and more after time. After all, it took until today (nearly 2 years since it's release) for me to feel compelled to write a review. This album is like fine wine. It's certainly one of the most uplifting (if not THE most uplifting album) The Roots have ever made. The album deserves a lot of credit for following a theme, and the sequencing of the tracks is flawless. How I Got Over is the perfect title for this album. The first track on this album is by far the darkest. "Walk Alone" is built around a heavy piano melody and centers around the idea that these artists have grown up alone, and wherever they go, they are alone. The song carries a serious sense of overwhelming dread. All 3 rappers, including Black Thought, admit to their feeling of loneliness, isolation, but worst of all they feel stuck. By the time the album hits track 5, "Now of Never" the album begins shifting towards a much more uplifting 2nd half. "Now or Never" is a powerful track, where the artist realize that a change is needed to escape whatever pain they're in. Following that track is the albums single, "How I Got Over", which makes a smooth transition into the powerful (and best) half of the album. "The Day", is just that... the day the new beginning, and mindset, starts. It's a positive track, and anybody with a heart or soul can relate to it. The 2nd half is the bread and butter of this album. "Right On" is my favorite track on the album, and Black Thought's verse is in one word, amazing, as he is on mostly all of this album. This track even features Joanna Newsom, which is probably way over the heads of hip-hop fans, but it's an amazing pairing. "The Fire" could also be the theme song for this album. John Legend is featured on the song, and gives a strong chorus which is backed up by two strong verses from Black Thought. The track's theme (fire in your heart, overcoming obstacles, blah blah blah) may seem mundane, but this is where The Roots collectively come together to make the song very personal and relatable. It's powerful stuff. The last two tracks, "Web 20/20", and "Hustla", are the most playful of all the tracks. "Web 20/20" is the most straight forward rap your ass off type song of the album. "Hustla" is the perfect closing track (it's very odd that it's considered a "bonus track"). It's a track that Black Thought, and featured artist STS, dedicate to their daugher (in the case of Black Thought) and future child (in the case of STS). The chorus is irresistable too, "Please let her be a hustla/baby be a hustla/hope my baby girl grows UP to be a hustla/let her be a hustla/baby be a hustla/if not than you're only a customa!. While that may not sound like the most creative lyric, Black Thoughts opening verse is a tour de force of emotion. "Let me tell you what priceless is/some advice to give/a sacrifice is what I made for the wife and kids/they say life's a **** but it's one life to live/I want my baby where the cake and the icing is/away from the crisises/off of them viceses/they see what we do and grow up in our likenesses/really I don't want to see em having to fight for this/story of the family biz, I'm a rewrite the script/daughter of a hip hoppa/hustla like her grandpappa/her destiny done been determined so you can't stop her/from being independent, earning paper, and proper/more like a lawyer or a doctor, not a man watcher. Once again, it's powerful, and it's so liberating to listen to a rapper give an authentic, personal verse about family values, as opposed to the elementary, corny, and fictionalized bull**** that rappers such as Wayne or Kanye love to rap about. This is a real album for real people. Expand
  5. Feb 18, 2014
    wow! This album is amazing. Great lyrics, beats and it is a perfect album aside from a couple of the hooks. I love this album and the roots. Well done keep making good music! Expand
  6. Jun 3, 2011
    Possibly in a synchronous but subconscious effort, this band (yes band) has created it's first album void of the racial overtones and what feels likes a persecution-free sound. What do they get, an elevated sound that hip hop needs (to follow) to show the music community that they can be so much more. Kudos to this band for once again expanding and pushing in a direction that truly sho Expand
  7. j30
    Sep 28, 2011
    One of the best albums of 2010 from one of the best bands of the past decade. How I Got Over is more rewarding each time you listen to it.

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