Only the Roots could drop the n-bomb 37 times, reference both Sean Connery and Arsenio Hall, and recruit a dude named Tuba Gooding Jr. to lay down a bass line — with, yes, a tuba — in a single song, and make it work. Synth and horns are their weapons of choice this time around, guest spots by Mos Def and Common blend in seamlessly, and you can almost see drummer and bandleader ?uestlove (the spelling’s correct) winking from behind his kit during bonus-track “Birthday Girl,” as the singer from teen-crush emo rockers Fall Out Boy lends a ridiculously poppy hook to lyrics about underage groupies. Selling out with a song about pedophilia? Only the Roots. A-
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