Tag Archives: Common

The Roots’ New Album

STEPHON JOHNSON: How I Got Over might be the first Roots album since Things Fall Apart where fans’ opinions aren’t divded. It’s about time.

AKIE BERMISS: I absolutely agree with Stephon — this is definitely the best and most consistent record The Roots have put out since Things Fall Apart. Its been over a decade and, at last, they’ve returned to the musical heights they were once so regularly visiting. What are the elements of a great album? What makes this better than Phrenology, The Tipping Point, Game Theory, and Rising Down? Where does this album (which is a far-cry stylistically from classic Roots records like Illadelph Halflife and Do You Want More?) bridge a connection to the great 90s heydey of the Roots? Well for one thing: they sound like a band. For another, Black Thought is rapping like he gives a damn about rapping. And finally, the music is original it is The Roots pandering to the art of the craft — and not The Roots pandering to divergent tastes of popular radio.

They are firing on all cylinders. Continue reading

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90s: The Golden Age of Music?

AKIE BERMISS: I should make it clear from the outset that it is not my position that the 90s was THE golden age of music. Just perhaps one of many golden mini-eras that come and go with the tides. And I should also make it clear that there is very little scientific evidence to back up the arguments I am going to presently make. What follows is, rather, a pseudo-scholarly attempt to draw up a basic outline of musical trends in the last half century or so.

I speak, of course, of music. Of the last great golden age of music: the 90s. But not as an isolated incident, rather, as a the most recent evidence of a decidedly unproven trend of artistic flowering under a Democratic presidency. It seems curious to me that we can so often think of artistic artifacts as being simply art’s domain when, in fact, we all know that outward influences are always at play. That often art is a sign of the times. Or art can act as a cultural and societal artifact as potently as an “artistic” one. Certainly anthropologists look to art in order to gauge the tenor and timbre of a civilization. Why shouldn’t we (albeit on a more micro-level)?

STEPHON JOHNSON: While the 90′s could be considered last real golden age for music, the way music was consumed and experienced back then might cloud our judgement of the decade. Continue reading

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Pro or Kanye?

STEPHON JOHNSON: Kanye’s ego check via South Park would not have come without his embrace of Auto-Tune. Checking his ego could make him lose his edge to the detriment of his fans.

AKIE BERMISS: At times, I think, I may be the only person on the planet who thinks Kanye West isn’t that great. Its a lonely place to be: haterdom. But somebody’s got to do it. Continue reading

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