Phrenology is the fifth studio album by American hip hop band The Roots, released on November 26, 2002, by MCA Records. Recording sessions for the album took place during June 2000 to September 2002 at Electric Lady Studios in New York. It was primarily produced by members of the band and features contributions from hip hop and neo soul artists such as Cody ChesnuTT, Musiq Soulchild, Talib Kweli, and Jill Scott. Although it did not parallel the commercial success of the band's previous album, Things Fall Apart, the album reached number 28 on the US Billboard 200 chart and sold steadily, remaining on the chart for 38 weeks. On June 3, 2003, it was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America, for shipments of 500,000 copies in the United States. Upon its release, Phrenology received universal acclaim from music critics, who praised its musical direction and lyrical themes, and it was included in numerous publications' year-end lists of the year's best albums.Wikipedia
What a ride. Coming off of their breakthrough (and my favorite Roots album) "Things Fall Apart," this was incredibly ambitious to make. It veers in a lot of directions, but I feel like the message gets across no matter which way it takes you. I read something once that said "The Roots are not a band you put on for your backyard BBQ." We've got straight forward hip-hop, neosoul, punk, hard rock, and the closer "Thirsty" is some hard house all about the Black experience. So yeah not great sunshine feel good tunes. Black Thought, for me, is one of rap's all time greatest lyricist, so I felt he really captured aspects of the culture that shape the Black mindset in America. A repurposing of the racists study of Phrenology. Gotta love "The Seed 2.0" and the Talib Kweli feature on "Rolling With Heat." I've had the pleasure of seeing them live a few years ago, and I felt like they brought a lot of that energy to this record. It does feel a little jarring and disjointed at times with the abrupt stylistic shifts, so for that I'm going with a 4. This is a fantastic example of what a hip-hop album can be as a work of art.
I 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 dont like rap
Ambitious, mature. The Roots never settle. For me this album suffers from a bit of the same issues I have with later Roots albums...almost too much scope, leaving it feeling fractured and lacking cohesion. Black Thought's lyrical skills combined with their expert instrumentation at times feels like drinking from a sonic firehose. But nonetheless, for 2002 this was such a genre-busting effort.
I really like the combination of rock, hip hop, and some whacky electronic influences. Quite a few bangers on this album.
Sounds nice. Nothing for me. Reliance on n-bombs makes it hard for me to enjoy all but the most trancendant rap
An amazing masterpiece!
I mean. It's a top 5 hiphop album for me for sure. The whole album is just packed with top-of-the-game, unrelenting, socially-concious spitting backed by power beats. Impossibly good.
Har aldri hørt dette albumet b2b før. Men, WOW, for en overraskelse! Særdeles variert med alt fra "klassisk" rap, til hardcore punk ('!!!!!!!'), frijazz-aktige-greier ('Water') og techno ('Thirsty!'). Favoritter: Quills, Rock you og Thought@Work.
Fantastic hip hop album! More electronic than I was expecting.
It's funny I was just listening to this album the other day digging through albums that had sampled The Incredible Bongo Band. And they did sample "Apache" in the song "Thought@Work." This is The Roots' fifth studio album and has a lot of contributors including Ursula Rucker, Nelly Furtado, Talib Kweli, Cody Chesnutt, Musiq, Jill Scott and poet Amiri Baraka. The album is named after the discredited pseudoscience of Phrenology which was the study of head shapes to determine intelligence and character and rationalized racism in the 19th century. Wow! Learn something new everyday, some which make you shake your head or worse. Anyway, subject matter-wise, I did not hear a songs about racism per se, but on a variety of other subjects: anti-ganster, certain aspects of the inner city and hip hop culture, relationships and band member issues. Yeah, covering a lot, as does the music described as hip hop incorporating elements of rock, jazz, techno, hardcore punk and soul. This is a big album trying to do a lot and it accomplishes it with everything I heard. It is not really sprawling but has a focus to it as you listen. Lots of good songs on this album. As previously mentioned, " Thought@Work" samples "Apache" and has a great groove. Talk about a great groove, "The Seed (2.0)" featuring Cody ChesnuTT and remixing his song sounds like vintage 1973 Isley Brothers with a very soulful feel. The song is based on Muddy Waters' "The Blues Had a Baby and Named it Rock and Roll" using that forvhip hop to neo-soul in a very innovative way. The first single off the album "Break You Off" is another great soul-based song about trying to steal someone's girlfriend. A great majestic orchestra ending. This album is 77 minutes but does not seem nearly that long and is well- worth the listen.
The Roots? Like from the Jimmy Fallon talk show? Unfortunately, this will be many people's initial exposure to these east-coast hip-hop legends. While this isn't the most prominent album in the discography, there is still great music here. There's clear Mos Def influence here, and I fuckin love Black On Black so I'll happily listen. And for the most part it's great! Around the mid-point it does seem to get a little aimless and experimental, which causes it to lose steam for me. This, combined with the 70 minute runtime, makes for a overly long album that maybe could've been broken up into two separate releases (maybe an experimental EP?) and reorganized for a more concise listening experience.
The Roots’ greatest strength is also their greatest weakness; their exemplary musical skill means they can play any style and genre - but just because they can, should they? The album is ambitious, but at times lacks a cohesive satisfying overall mood. But when they’re good they’re very good - The Seed 2.0, Rolling with Heat, Rhymes and Ammo are straight up fire and Black Thought solidifies his reputation as one of the great - but slept on - rappers.
Why this album by the Roots rather than “Things Fall Apart” which contains the Grammy-winning romantic rap ballad “You Got Me”??
Old school rap con algunas canciones experimentales, pero no me gustó mucho. Liked songs: Seed Break your way off Something in the way of things
This is horrible haha
I heard this album in my RA's room not long after it came out, and at the time I didn't really know much about The Roots. It blew my mind then, and it blew my mind again today. Black Thought is the best lyricist in the game imo. Best track: Thought @ Work
My favorite Roots album and one of my favorite hip-hop albums.
obviously, a great album
I've listened to this many times, great album!
Own this, bought on NASA Glenn trip. Not quite as good as their previous but still amazing
No notes needed
Wow, this album is all over the place and also somehow ...not. I like it.
Man. The Roots are great. I loved this album.
genuinely a revelation - infectious hooks and instrumentals, great vocals, hooray !
Hat einfach Spaß gemacht.
LOVED this. Wasn’t expecting The Roots to have a hardcore punk song. Loved the variety
This has vecome my favorite rap album atm. And also the best rap album I've at heard so far after about 100 albums on this list. It's nice to listen to and also experimental and special in many ways. About 4.5 to me butI'll give it a 5 because it's the only really good rap album I've heard so far. (On this list)
This music pulled me in. Some of the tracks are great. A few are not to my own liking, but that's just a matter of taste. Really talented group.
I love everything by The Roots ❤️. Hadn’t listened to this in a long time and was glad to do so again
Brilliant hip-hop album.
Необычно. Это джазз-рэп, нео-соул или что-то подобное. есть саксофон, МНОГО бэков. Я морж который почти не понимает рэп на слух, пыталась полезть в джиниус но там много диалекта, если прям зацепит то позже переведу. Неожиданно замечен тот самый популярный сэмпл барабанов. Пока 10/10 буду переслушивать. Оао хватит ли мне времени слушать каждый день альбомы из списка¿
I like the hell out of this. It has a great sense of rhythm and changes up style frequently so that you don't get bored. It's unique and I dig it.
Very very good album, with forwardthinking beats, experimental songs, emotional power, incredible rapping from Black thought and a new aesthetic for the Roots. Also great to see some hiphop on this very dadrock focused list. Aside from a few weak hooks this is perfect, my score would be a 9/10 but you can't do that in this systen so i'm giving it a full score.
I’ll never forget the sousaphone solo when I saw them live. Top notch
Really varied both instrumentally and vocally. I love the focus on live instrumentation. The lyrics are great too.
one of the best roots albums of all time.
Loved it the whole way through
Great hip hop album with a lot of variety that transitions into different genres at times. Big fan of The Roots!
Seed 2.0 is always solid...love this album cover...the lyrics are powerful, but the beats make me long for the times when more rap sounded this way - powerful lyrics + a unique beat
End of the album is better.
Might as well become my fav genre lmao 5/5
Maybe it's Philadelphia-bias, but this is The Roots at their best.
I love this one and I've love The Roots in general so this can't be objective. I remember hearing 'The Seed' for the first time and just howling, like, what the hell am I listening to? If 'The Chronic' is a Netflix-era Michael Bay movie, this one is a late 80s John McTiernan movie. It's just as fun, but it's got something to chew on, too.
The Roots are just so solid. One of the best bands out there.
Amazing. Best hip hop album I’ve heard in years. Maybe ever.
All the rock
I mean, it’s The Roots….it’s great
Well this is from 2002, so is doubtlessly awful. Except it isn't. This is hip hop that goes in unexpected and rewarding directions. Tracks that tickle your earballs delightfully. Tracks that make you feel slightly uneasy. Tracks that flow. Tracks that pop. I will be listening to this again. Given the year - unbelievable!
9/10. This was really good, I'll have to listen to it again.
I never managed to get into The Roots, which I will admit is on me – as anyone who (like me) knows them as "that band from Jimmy Fallon" is not late to the game, they missed the whole tournament. What stopped me from really being into them was never listening to this record.
Fucking hell... this one of the most far reaching albums I've ever heard. Insane experimental fusion of Hip Hop, RnB, Soul, Prog, Techno, Metal, Jazz, Funk... I want this on Vinyl
Heavy use of AMAZING samples. Amazing features. Has a great blend of deeper, lyrically impressive tracks and songs that are more laid back and almost psych
Apart from their debut album and the John Legend collab, this is quintessential Roots
Truly unbelievably good album from the best musical act out of Philadelphia. Album starts out hot, stays hot through the middle, dips a little before the end, and ends on a high note. So many great tracks, but my favorite has to be Rolling with Heat
Damn, I regret not sitting down with The Roots before. Of course the performances are perfect, but I honestly was shocked by how strong the album was over a longer duration than I typically prefer.
The Roots are always such a delight. They were one of my first forays into hip hop, back when I was still a classic-rock purist, so they will always be a little special to me. Not to mention ?uestlove might be one of the most important drummers of the last 30 years, if not the most important. Loved this.
Stupendously funky and awesome.
If there is a perfect contemporary music group out there, it is The Roots. Every member is a god damn genius, and mind-meltingly skilled. And the songs on this joint? Damn. A great listen from start to finish. Favorite Track: "Something In The Way of Things" which is straight up beat jazz complete with spoken word. Fantastic!
Oops all bangers. Some really good hip hop through and through.
Very good album. Each beat is amazing and each feature delivers. The lyricism and word play is a strong highlight of the album. Every song is good
Hip hop van rond de eeuwwisseling voelt voor mij altijd gauw outdated. Weinig albums van rond deze tijd die nou echt must listens zijn, maar The Roots zijn echter de uitzondering. Things Fall Apart en Phrenology zijn albums die vandaag de dag uitgebracht kunnen worden en niemand zou merken dat ze 20 jaar oud zijn. Ik geef dit album een 5, vanwege de diversiteit en creativiteit. Een nummer als ‘water’ laat zien dat ze niet bang waren om het anders te doen. Het gaat van boom bap naar jazzy hip hop en een soort punk interlude er tussen, en daardoor is het album geen moment saai. Een nummer als ‘break it off’ zou vandaag de dag - uitgebracht door de juiste artiest - makkelijk de charts toppen.
amazing one of favorite bands implementing all kinds of music and still being able to gain a reputation, all the songs are good, have unique personalities, the drum beats are good, the vocals, when they implement a new genre into a song it’s like it’s still part of the album but it’s just another song the style switches are so clean, the album is great. the jazz, hip hop, RNB, and more genres coming together to make this the only in this album, but some of the songs don’t hit as hard but some don’t some do it just depends on feelings, the album should be very praised the amount of versatility they have is incredible 10/10 would recommend a listen
The percussion on this is worth 5 stars on its own.
Very chill, vibin', rap
This is a great album. Ashamed to say I didn’t know much about it… I’ll be exploring further!
Hip-hop-band, alsidigt, støvet, featurepræget
I enjoyed this album. A couple tracks went a little long for me. I think overall, it sounded really cool and I liked a lot of the lyrics, features, etc. I wish I had more to say here.
This album is weird but awesome, it has such a wide scope, from garage to the feeling that you're actively drowning it has everything
Some of these flows were too insane to give anything else. Admittedly lots of it was like fuckin woah. But this kept me awake when I was fucking near death.
Nice. 4 stars.
El rap y hippity hoppity no son lo mío, pero eso no quita que este disco es muy bueno y demuestra que el rap no es solo beat y rimas. Me gustó mucho The Seed (2.0)
No sabía que ellos tocaban the seed 2.0 ni que se llamaba así jajaja. Buen hippity hoppity de ese que ya no hacen y muy buena mezcla de diferentes ritmos. The Seed, Pussy Galore, Rhymes and Ammo y Thirsty! mis favoritas
First song is so dope! Really solid album I thoroughly enjoyed it
Another from my collection. It aged well. I’d give it 5, but it’s not entirely consistent. Still will add it to my rotation again though. Loved it.
De los grupos más originales en hip-hop y de pocos que pueden hacer que suene bien la combinación con instrumentos en vivo. Es como una clase de un experto para entender cómo puedes mezclar chingos de ritmos con hip hop y hacerlo bien... no como la mayoría.
The Roots are a group that, despite my persistent journey into hip hop, I still haven't heard much from--I've heard more solo work from Black Thought. On first listen, I'm not much for picking up lyrics (and given the title and the Roots themselves, I know there's heavy lyrical content on here), but the music itself is really strong. It's an album that I'm sure would reward repeat listens, but based on the strength of the sound and the rapping, I can already say it's a great album. Excellent energy and a lot of cool styles explored. Favorite tracks: Quills, Rhymes and Ammo, The Seed 2.0, Thought @ Work. Album art: I'd say this is iconic as far as hip hop albums go. I've seen this countless times. Phrenology itself is a disturbing concept, and this art style throws back to an era when it was unfortunately a real thing. The intricacy of the art in the regions of the head/mind is incredible. 4/5
Really enjoyed this one! The rhythm and groove especially. I didn’t pick up much on lyrics but loved the vibe and the drive this record had throughout. Definitely something I’ll be playing again.
I enjoyed this album very much.
Rock you y toughts @ work muy bien Water es una joya.
I hadn’t listened to this album before this project. I really enjoyed all the grooves and different song flows.
This album was all over the place and I loved that. Songs as short as 30 seconds or as long as ten minutes. very easy to listen to as the beats and other ambient sounds carried through most of the songs, especially on Break You Off and Water. The songs felt so short but were super long. Love this album art as well. Surprised this came out in 2011!
this album gives me memories of college
Enjoying this a great deal. 7/10 (4*)
Meant to use the Tribe Called Quest review for this one as I was playing catch up but they both stand about the same for me. Suprisingly enjoyable compared to what my typical taste is, wouldnt seek out but could enjoy when it comes on
One of the best rap albums from this century, surely.
Al blijft dit niet echt mijn genre, heeft dit album heel wat invloeden uit rock, jazz en soul. Deze interessante mix maakt dit wel een leuk album
surprisingly fun. i listened twice.
Awesome album. A lot of soul, a lot of intelligent hip-hop. Very nice soulful, jazzy vibe.
Love the flow of everything. Nice beats.