The Roots – Organix

6 08 2009

Later this fall, The Roots are going to be releasing their new album How I Got Over. I’m pretty sure the release date for that is 20 October 2009. In honor of that, today I’m covering Organix, the often overlooked, first album from The Roots, released in 1993.

The Roots - Organix 1

Self-released in 1993, Organix didn’t even chart in the US, but it served as a nice springboard to The Roots’ first major record deal. One thing that I’ve always admired about this group is how they stay true to their sound. Check out how they kick it live with this spectacular performance of the first single and title track off the new album, on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Almost 20 years together and The Roots are still going strong. Have a look at the last.fm page. All right, well, let’s throw it back.

Track 1: The Roots Are Comin’
A nice intro track, letting everyone know that the hip-hop game was about to experience a new sound that would be around for a long time to come. Black Thought drops mad knowledge, setting a good tempo for the whole album. 4

Track 2: Pass the Popcorn
This is the first track that The Roots ever made a music video for. Check it out. This song’s real fresh, and I love the instrumentation, but I think they just stretch it a bit too long. I don’t know if there’s enough there to keep the track going for five and a half minutes.

Track 3: The Anti-Circle
What I don’t like about this song the hook, but I mean, I rarely like hooks in hip-hop. At about two minutes and twenty seconds in (when Thought says “inspect it like gadget”), you can hear what sounds like a cello playing a snippet of the “Inspector Gadget” theme. I love the last 30 seconds. 4

Track 4: Writers Block
The music is great, but I’m not a huge fan of the spoken-word sounding vocals. Call it artistic, call it avant-garde, call it what you want, but I don’t find it all that entertaining. I do like the ending though. 3

Track 5: Good Music (Prelude)
A pretty cool prelude to an incredible track. I’m glad they made it a separate track, because it makes the next track better, in a way. I mean, it’s kind of unnecessary. And for my next trick…

Track 6: Good Music
I love this track. Probably my favorite track on this album. I love all the ad-libs, I love the music, and I even love the hook. The name of this track is very fitting, because it describes the song perfectly. I’d be interested to find out what music they were listening to when they created this album. 5

Track 7: Grits
The whole concept of this track is just awesome. The fact that they’re rapping about something so different is what makes this track a gem. I think of Tribe’s “Ham and Eggs” when I hear this track, but that’s purely because it’s food. I love the positivity here. That’s something today’s rap is missing. 5

Track 8: Leonard I-V
I love the beat for this song, and the hook isn’t terrible either, asking “Where did Leonard Parts One to Five go?” referring to the Bill Cosby film Leonard Part 6, which is often considered one of the worst films of all time. I love the third verse, with the Tribe and De La Soul references. The last minute is phenomenal as well. Looks like a five-turkey. 5

Track 9: I’m Out Deah
I’m not a huge fan of this track, but I mean, after three fives in a row, it’s not surprising that this track doesn’t match up. I like the “I’m on some crazy linear shit” part. Instrumentally, the track is great, as are most Roots tracks. 4

Track 10: Essawahmah? (Live at the Soulshack)
“And say what man” is what the name of this track is supposed to mean. I love the call-and-response all throughout the song. I mean, it’s constantly going on. First is happens with the drums, then the keyboard, then with the crowd for the hook, and finally with bass. It’s a pretty incredible track, and the fact that it’s live only adds to it. Hey, Black Thought, can I get a dollar? 5

Track 11: There’s a Riot Going On
I don’t really know why this track is here. I’m sure there was a reason behind it, but it’s lost on me. 13 seconds of snoring with some effect or something. I almost feel like it shouldn’t really count. 3

Track 12: Popcorn Revisited
I like this song a lot more than “Pass the Popcorn” from earlier in this album. The third verse is ridiculously good. The percussion is flawless in this track. Insane. ?uesto owned this track.

Track 13: Peace
Another spoken-word intermission type track. Don’t get me wrong, though. Is peace a good subject? Yes. Is spoken-word terribly entertaining? Not really.

Track 14: Common Dust
The beginning of this track is awesome. I just love the chord progression a lot. I love the last 45 seconds, with that musical fade out, and the humming. Great stuff. If they made this track one minute shorter (but kept the cool ending), it’d be better. 4

Track 15: The Session (Longest Posse Cut in History)
It’s these kinds of tracks that made 1993 the greatest year ever for hip-hop. I’d say the fact that this album was a self-release helped this song out because it was so long. 4

Track 16: Syreeta’s Having My Baby
Even though it’s only 42 seconds long, it’s pretty interesting and entertaining. I like it a lot. 4

Track 17: Carryin’ On
I can see what they were going for here, having this as the last track on the album, but I really think if they’d decided to do something else, and put this as an interlude somewhere else, it could’ve been better.

The Roots - Organix 2

As I said above, albums like this helped make 1993 the year that it was. The Roots brought a whole new sound, but in an old fashioned way. Organix is often overlooked, but I think that it’s a very important album for The Roots. It’s what really started them on their path, and the fact that it’s self-released makes it even more impressive.
Overall: 4.5/5

The Roots - Organix

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