Rising Down

  • Record Label: Def Jam
  • Release Date: Apr 29, 2008

Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. With an incongruent Fall Out Boy track set aside for single duty and all those rappers a dream community taking the burden off Black Thought, this is the most accomplished pure hip-hop album in years.
  2. Stop wasting time and go to the store to get Rising Down right now.
  3. It’s absolutely astonishing that after so many years of excellent and superb music The Roots are still one of the best bands around. With Rising Down they have not only proved it but they have silenced all of the doubters and haters out there; this is really a special band.
  4. Encapsulating everything that has come to pass since their debut with "Organix" in 1993, Rising Down is the best The Roots release to date, bar none.
  5. The Roots' uncompromising sucker punch of an album captures the sound of battle-scarred survivors intent on being the last band standing in a world and music industry steadily falling apart.
  6. An album that's both revelatory and full of questions, an album that understands its place in the Roots' history and American history, and an album that continues to place the group as one of the country's most talented and relevant in any genre, no calculated crossover necessary.
  7. Elsewhere, 'Criminal' and 'I Will Not Apologize' find the group making its most acute, nail-driven points in years.
  8. 80
    Rising Down is tightly focused and appealingly modest in its ambitions.
  9. 80
    The Roots' hardscrabble classicism and maverick whimsy cohere seemlessly, making Rising the group's most potently evocative work yet. [May 2008, p.98]
  10. On the Roots' superb, inky-black tale of paranoia, 2006's "Game Theory," the walls were closing in. On the equally gripping Rising Down, the group's 10th album, out today, the walls are getting demolished.
  11. It's a gruff, sometimes paranoid album with a decidedly subjective point of view, but Rising Down cuts no corners as its tells some hard truths to a society that is only too happy to stay in the dark.
  12. Playing against typecast, Rising Down is not an appropriate soundtrack for your next fraternity party or bong load. It's more of a call to arms. Radio Raheem might well be proud.
  13. These damaged siren songs are a harsh counterpoint to the organic flow of "The Tipping Point," but nonetheless deliver an honest and abrasive diatribe within The Roots’ legacy of civil commentary and inspired musicianship.
  14. With "75 Bars" being the only real dud on the album, Rising Down proves to be more of a collection of songs that work together as a whole than one cohesive album.
  15. It might not be their best-ever album--Phrenology can still claim that title--but Rising Down finds The Roots reinvigorated, more passionate than ever.
  16. Mojo
    The brooding 'Singing Man' and the euphorically optimistic 'Rising Up' underline that the best hip hop is about taking chances. [July 2008, p.100]
  17. Rising Down isn't always an easy listen, but it's an exciting one, and its abrasiveness never gets in the way of a good throw-your-hands-up beat or a well-crafted lyric.
  18. Overall, Rising Down doesn't replicate the balanced charm of last year's "Game Theory," but in other ways, it's the more provocative effort.
  19. Rising Down does prove to be an provocative peer of cultural riot-acting and pragmatic contextualization--though, as contemporary pop music, it provides a much more immediate delivery of social ethics from a street-level perspective.
  20. The production style displays unique shadings and shifts in sound, suggesting an attention to sonic detail emblematic of a drummer with the deep musical (especially jazz-related) knowledge that ?uestlove owns. But this may also sustain the most oft-heard complaint against the Roots: the seeming inability of their lead vocalist, Black Thought, to unfailingly deliver "hip-hop quotables."
  21. Vibe
    Rising Down bangs like no Roots work since their popular, populist breakthrough "Things Fall Apart." [June 2008, p.65]
  22. The Wire
    Rising Down's most immediate qualities are the raw aesthetic and the burning importance of its message. [July 2008, p.66]
  23. Kicking off the Philadelphia hip-hop band's 10th CD is a snippet from a 1994 conference call with then label Geffen, in which rapper Black Thought goes apoplectic. This is the first of many bad vibes on Rising Down, which turns the downcast mood of 2006's haunting "Game Theory" outward at the world at large, with gripes about drug laws, school shootings, conflict diamonds, and--that most alarming bellwether of our times--BET programming.
  24. Rising Down is a grim mirror of a particular time and place, one that will still be worth the look when (if?) things get better somewhere down the line.

Awards & Rankings

User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 33 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 11
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 11
  3. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. RadoslavP.
    Jul 12, 2008
    Simply the best rap has to offer - phylosophical and politicly aware - it just makes you think about life.
  2. MycroftW.
    Jul 7, 2008
    Doubt that this will end up being my favourite Roots record, but that's mainly due to the stiff competition. The record focuses on the Doubt that this will end up being my favourite Roots record, but that's mainly due to the stiff competition. The record focuses on the harder edge of their sound, with ?uestlove apparently saving the more mellowed-out stuff for the Al Green record. Full Review »
  3. steveo
    Jun 25, 2008
    the roots are one hip hop group that has many strong points. they have numbers including mos def and questlove. they use original jazzy beats the roots are one hip hop group that has many strong points. they have numbers including mos def and questlove. they use original jazzy beats and they speak the truth about what people need to hear about in the struggle of the hip hop game. Full Review »