• Record Label: MCA
  • Release Date: Nov 26, 2002
User Score
9.1

Universal acclaim- based on 48 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 47 out of 48
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 48
  3. Negative: 1 out of 48

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  1. FredrickG
    Dec 5, 2002
    10
    The Thing is HOT!!!!! Get it as soon as posssible.
  2. AlexK
    Dec 3, 2002
    10
    The Roots.. whats more to say
  3. suzetteh.
    Aug 8, 2003
    8
    I was looking for music - just tired of hearing the same subjects and sounds pounding in my head over and over. I heard "the Seed," got the album and an education with it. Roots is refreshng, deep, intelligent and necessary to counter the rest of what's out there.
  4. chelseah
    Dec 10, 2002
    10
    this cd is off the hook the roots have always been skilled and it shows it in this cd. ALL the song are worth listen to, i'm addicted to it
  5. TonyJ
    Dec 6, 2002
    10
    Too smooth for words
  6. jk
    Dec 7, 2002
    10
    it is sweet! it is a lot different than things fall apart. it's more funk and it's amazingly good.
  7. MikeH
    Oct 28, 2003
    10
    Gotta give it up to their bold reach in breaking from their own unique mold... it works. The whole cd continues to metamorph into an instant classic. Water, P**** galore, etc. continue to hit hard lyrically.
  8. SuneR
    Jun 3, 2003
    9
    Hot cd. Nothing more to say...
  9. INKOSE
    Jul 23, 2003
    8
    The flava from the Roots is definately a reflection of true hip-hop. It is clear that they are influenced more by the content of their work than what mainstream is willing to buy. This album is a Roots Classic minus the filler material.
  10. HugoG
    Feb 28, 2004
    9
    Fresh and brainy.
  11. dirkt
    Feb 13, 2005
    9
    the best album I heard in a long time.very fresh, energizing,after umpteenth time listening it can still surprise me. a masterpiece.
  12. FreesiaA
    May 18, 2005
    10
    Increible album, lyrics are hot, political, moving, beats are old skool which is jus straight smart! back up vocals are so nice...smooth album, one of the best in this day and age of garbage
  13. rubenf
    May 3, 2005
    9
    yo this cd is knocking. i mean black thoughts flow is just crazy. and the beats on this albumi are just amazing. the roots the greatest ever. keep repen philly.
  14. DaveI
    Dec 14, 2002
    10
    Kick-ass hip-hop group. They know the right of creating good rap music. Way the go, boys!
  15. RichardF
    Dec 19, 2002
    10
    The Roots produce another fantastic album. Kudos to MCA Records for releasing one splendid hip-hop album after another this year (Blackalicious, DJ Shadow, Talib Kweli, Common, and the Roots)
  16. [Anonymous]
    Dec 2, 2002
    9
    Amazing record. I'm very impressed.
  17. TiffanyM
    Dec 24, 2002
    9
    This is classic.....I absolutely loved it....I wish this type of music was more mainstream, rather than all ot the junk thats in regular rotation, The Roots have something to say, while I'm jammin I also get to be enlightened...What can be better than that? Go and Get it Today!!!
  18. ArthurM
    Dec 5, 2002
    10
    the roots do it every time, i just wish they didnt wait so long to let the real shit out...i was getting tired of that bling bling bullshit.
  19. JonN
    Jan 11, 2003
    9
    a star is born in cody chestnutt on "the seed 2.0." Oh yes, and the rest of the album is absolute gold.
  20. TyroneJ
    Feb 19, 2003
    10
    When I call these brothers artists, it's not a cliche or industry jargon. They have serious style, serious skills, and a serious knowledge of and aprreciation for music-- in all its manifestations.
  21. ChristopherB
    Apr 25, 2003
    7
    Phrenology has little of the fresh, newly creative material that hip hop desperately needs. However, the production is superb and the layering of beats, effects, and lyrics is so nice to the ear that you just get all excited. They also come harder on this albumn relative to previous efforts. It is obvious that the thought, effort, and hard work put into it is superior to most hip hop. A Phrenology has little of the fresh, newly creative material that hip hop desperately needs. However, the production is superb and the layering of beats, effects, and lyrics is so nice to the ear that you just get all excited. They also come harder on this albumn relative to previous efforts. It is obvious that the thought, effort, and hard work put into it is superior to most hip hop. A super tight albumn with a potential single of the year in The Seed (2.0). Some of the between track filler and end of track space out takes away from the albumns overall flow Expand
  22. AsiaZ
    Jun 13, 2004
    10
    An instant classic from quite possibly the best band in music today. Phrenology's only setback is the over bearing ambient outros to a few tracks on the second half. A reviewer below this (the onle that gave it a 3) said that "things fall apart was a great album" but that Phrenology is shit. First of all, Things Fall Apart was a good, but FAR from great album- especially coming off An instant classic from quite possibly the best band in music today. Phrenology's only setback is the over bearing ambient outros to a few tracks on the second half. A reviewer below this (the onle that gave it a 3) said that "things fall apart was a great album" but that Phrenology is shit. First of all, Things Fall Apart was a good, but FAR from great album- especially coming off the heels of the incredible Illadelph Halflife. Any longtime Roots fan knows that Things Fall Apart- not Phrenology, is- up to this point- the closest to a commercial album the Roots have produced. Expand
  23. Mike
    Jan 1, 2006
    10
    This could be my favorite hip-hop album ever.
  24. TimL
    Dec 19, 2002
    9
    Although I cut my musical teeth on Public Enemy and Run DMC, I find little in the realm of modern hip-hop exciting. The Roots are among the exception to this rule, and Phrenology is one of the year's best album. Although the Roots do deviate from their traditional jazz-hop stylings on the album, they instead fuse a ton of genres with great beats and lyrics. The Roots are not only one Although I cut my musical teeth on Public Enemy and Run DMC, I find little in the realm of modern hip-hop exciting. The Roots are among the exception to this rule, and Phrenology is one of the year's best album. Although the Roots do deviate from their traditional jazz-hop stylings on the album, they instead fuse a ton of genres with great beats and lyrics. The Roots are not only one of the most groundbreaking artists in contemporary music, they're also the most talented group of musicians in the industry--and, on Phrenology, they finally craft an album worthy of and encompassing their skills. Expand
  25. Aaron
    Dec 4, 2002
    10
    ABsolutely the best creative influence in hip hop. A continuation of astounding records that become more mature with each release
  26. Nick
    Nov 27, 2002
    10
    It may take a little getting used too for some, but this one will be looked back on as groundbreaking.
  27. maxl
    Nov 29, 2002
    8
    less underground at first listen... still nice, still the roots!
  28. JeffF
    Dec 13, 2002
    8
    Besides Blackalicious' "Blazing Arrow," this is the best hip hop cd to come out in a long long time. A little disjointed at times, but still one of the years best.
  29. j30
    Sep 28, 2011
    10
    Just a great Hip/Hop record. From start to finish, it's an intoxicating, exhilarating album that gives you hope in Hip/Hops future.
  30. Apr 25, 2012
    6
    This album made me fall in love with the live hip hop sensation that is the Roots. It starts a little slow, but the middle tracks (7-12) are all worth listening to.
Metascore
87

Universal acclaim - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. With their fifth studio record, Phrenology, they finally become what we've always hoped they would be: a hip-hop band that strikes a very funky balance between righteousness and humor, between headbanging grooves and truth-telling.
  2. They've found it in their talent to put black music's long tradition of tune and structure into practice.
  3. With Phrenology, the cool Philly troupe remain head and shoulders above the rest by sticking to their well-defined course of smoky live beats, serious lyrics, stunning guests... and not one ounce of production from the Neptunes.