July 17, 2016

The Roots "Clones" (The Source, July 1996)

"Sometimes you wish hip-hop could be distilled to a simple equation: talent = success. Unfortunately, it ain't that clear-cut. Case in point: an incredibly talented group outta Illadelphia puts together a debut work that receives critical acclaim, but generates no commercial explosions. Any fool knows that the Roots measure 10 plus on the hip-hop Richter (guess that makes the general public a bunch of geniuses). But if there's a great arbiter of hip-hop fairness, the second time around may prove to be the charm for Black Thought, Malik B & co." Watch the visuals to "Clones," cont'd...

"Clones" and "Sections" are clear indicators of the direction in which the crew seems to be headed. Musically, they've eased back from the live band feel in favor of a more conventional sound. And both joints come with much more of a lyrical edge than most Roots faithful may be accustomed to, particularly "Clones" - which also features capable wordplay from M.A.R.S. and Dice Raw. While Malik B has always had a penchant for flipping on n!ggas, Black Thought could usually be found developing complex verbalistics on varied subjects ... It's too early - and probably incorrect - to say that the Roots are retreating from their original steelo, but they rip through this first single and leave a pointed mission statement on the brain: we are f#cking dope MCs." - The Source, July 1996.