How I Got Over - The Roots
Metascore
86

Universal acclaim - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. 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.
  2. The message is, essentially, Times are hard, but let's make things better. As honest and uplifting statements of intent go, it's hard to fault – just like this album.
  3. How I Got Over finds the Roots acting as elder statesmen in hip-hop, but its mix of nifty experiments and straightforward rap eliminates any sense of predictability.
  4. The first half of the Roots' ninth studio album, How I Got Over, sounds like a hangover, a brooding meditation on a world teetering toward anarchy.
  5. From those opening, gorgeous, chords – their sultry delivery, their soulful demeanor, their jazzy glean, everything – signals that The Roots are back.
  6. As the title suggests, it's a record which marks a transition for The Roots but which, like the America it addresses, is still aware of the burden of the recent past.
  7. The venerable hip-hop band's first effort since joining NBC's late-night lineup delivers all the funk/soul/jazz vibes fans have come to expect.
  8. I love sampled beats. But 90 percent of the time I'd rather ride Ahmir Thompson's hand, feet, and brain.
  9. How I Got Over is also the Roots' best listening experience since Things Fall Apart over ten years ago (a rap eternity).
  10. It's another rock-solid album from one of rap's most consistently great collectives, with no discernable weak spots to attack.
  11. On their ninth studio album, the veteran Philly crew adds indie rock to its formula, and after two straight downer albums, it has them sounding positively re-energized.
  12. What makes How I Got Over work is its sense of purpose. After the jaw-clenching stress rap of their last two excellent Def Jam releases, Game Theory and Rising Down, this record operates as a slow-build mission statement on how to overcome.
  13. This disconnect actually amps up the album's tension and energy, as if that first half was the uphill struggle, and the rest is the triumphant sound coming down from the summit.
  14. Gone are the frantic raps, menacing synths, and general hardness of the band's past three albums. In their place is a mellow approximation of the jazzy, old-school charm of The Roots circa Things Fall Apart.
  15. The Roots aren't just cashing in from their newfound Jimmy Fallon fame, they're doing what they do best that nobody else in or outside the Illadeph-side can do.
  16. When they come back to Roy Ayers-style funk ("Radio Daze"), they prove nobody does it better. Let's hear it for steady employment.
  17. They're driven, even though their latest venture is stylistically the most inert, contemplative, offputtingly soft music they've possibly ever released.
  18. 80
    The title of the Roots' ninth studio full-length suggests a more fulfilled mood (Obama victory, gig as America's favorite late-night house band), at least compared to the screw-faced abyss of their last two records.
  19. 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.
  20. Their ninth album finds the Philadelphia veterans a unique voice in hip-hop.
  21. Even in its boasts, How I Got Over is selfless: an album of doubts, parables and pep talks.
  22. A bit slight to be among their best handful of releases, it's still their most immediate, another album that transcends any attempts at categorization.
  23. 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.
User Score
9.1

Universal acclaim- based on 117 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Aug 14, 2010
    10
    Possibly in a synchronous but subconscious effort, this band (yes band) has created it's first album void of the racial overtones and whatPossibly 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. Full Review »
  2. j30
    Sep 28, 2011
    9
    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.
  3. Jun 3, 2011
    10
    Possibly in a synchronous but subconscious effort, this band (yes band) has created it's first album void of the racial overtones and whatPossibly 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 Full Review »