Roots – Phrenology

Fourth album proper from live Philly jazz-rappers

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Any new Roots album comes with a three-part guarantee: sublime, R&B-guested crossover (“Break You Off” with Musiq, “Complexity” featuring Jill Scott), muso indulgence (the hideous epilogue muddying the otherwise sparkling “Water”) and, crucially, a willingness to push the envelope of their organic jazz-rap that leaves the competition standing. The latter is best exhibited on the riffy “The Seed 2.0” and stripped-bare squiggles of “Rolling With Heat”, less successfully on the electroclash-influenced “Something In The Way Of Things”. Thankfully, though, Phrenology is more therapy than quack science.

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