And you thought Game Theory was dark... The Legendary Roots Crew return with album ocho, and just like the state of the nation, things is serious. From the intro -- a conference call with ex-label Geffen gone seriously awry -- it's apparent that the Philly vets are not here to spread sunshine. Rising Down is defined by intense and political rhymes from Black Thought, Dice Raw and a whole slew of other MCs (Mos, Talib, Wale, Peedi; been a while since Roots had this many guests...), but there's no denying the album's anchor is that ever-steady ?uest percussion, the equally paranoia-inducing dirty drums most apparent on the bare bones "75 Bars" and skuzzy "Get Busy." Mr. Thompson's clatter brings out strong 16s from Kweli, Common and Wale respectively on the album's closing trio of "Lost Desire," "The Show" and "Rising Up," the final track being the most sunshiney of the whole album thanks to some tinkling piano and a smoky sweet hook from Chrisette Michele. Also check "Singing Man" with Dice Raw and Philly recruits Porn and Truck North. 13 tracks; double vinyl.
- music label: Def Jam / 2008
reviewed by Chris Lemon-Red