Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Roots: Rising Down [Def Jam, 2008]
Integrating 11 rappers into a groove defined by ?uestlove's spontaneous bop beatery and lowing synth sounds that evoke My Bloody Valentine the way those high ostinatos used to give it up to Roy Ayers, this is as pleasurable as prime OutKast or Kanye West. The mood is political even though the rhymes barely reference any arm of government except the police. The Roots are no more sympathetic to the suicide bomber than to the killer nerd of Virginia Tech, both of whom share a song with a boy soldier in Sierra Leone they're not crazy about either. But they know that just by reporting what they see and feel, they indict the government. 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. A