- Released: August 29, 2006
- Originally Released: 2006
- Label: Def Jam
Rolling Stone - p.1003.5 stars out of 5
-- "For every head-nodding beat, GAME THEORY has a head-turning treat, from the 'om' chant intro on the gospel-style 'Baby' to the melancholy Radiohead sample of 'Atonement'."
Rolling Stone - p.104Ranked #18
in Rolling Stone's "The Top 50 Albums Of 2006" -- "GAME THEORY is classic studio Roots, full of invention and left turns."
Spin - p.1144 stars out of 5
-- "GAME THEORY is The Roots at their heaviest. Keyboards that once draped a gauzy texture over their funk excursions now elbow their way into the mix."
Spin - p.59Ranked #23
in Spin's "The 40 Best Albums of 2006" -- "[A] suite of intensely glowering songs..."
Entertainment Weekly - p.p.77
"GAME THEORY is their toughest, weightiest, and most uncommercial effort yet....This is the rare hip-hop release that's both gripping and touching." -- Grade: A-
Uncut - p.1234 stars out of 5
-- "[A] focused, intelligent record....The reshuffle yields some of their best material with assaults like 'In The Music' and the J Dilla tribute 'Can't Stop This'..."
Vibe - p.212
"THEORY is a masterfully crafted, sobering wake-up call....GAME THEORY boasts top-notch craftsmanship -- mixing and sequencing do count....but it's continuity that makes this album unique."
XXL (Magazine) (p.173) - "[T]he Roots have continued to evolve and experiment with their sound. With tracks ranging from high velocity boast fests to spacey jams..."
Mojo (Publisher) - p.1004 stars out of 5
-- "This ferociously politicized record recalls the urgency of Public Enemy's NATION OF MILLIONS....A focused tour de force..."
- 1.Dilltastic Vol Won(derful)
- 2.False Media
- 3.Game Theory
- 4.Don't Feel Right
- 5.In the Music
- 6.Take It There
- 8.Here I Come
- 9.Long Time
- 10.Livin' in a New World
- 11.Clock with No Hands
- 13.Can't Stop This
The Roots: Black Thought (rap vocals); Captain Kirk Douglas (guitar); Kamal Gray (keyboards); Leonard Hubbard (bass guitar); ?uestlove (drums); Frank "Knuckles" Walker (percussion).
Personnel: Wadud Ahmad (vocals, spoken vocals); Maimouna Youssef, Jack Davey , Michael Heinzer, Malik B., Peedi Peedi, Bunny Sigler (vocals); Gloria Justin, Charles Parker , Igor Szwec, Emma Kummrow (violin); Davis A. Barnett (viola); Larry Gold (cello).
Additional personnel: Bunny Sigler.
Audio Mixers: ?uestlove; Jason Goldstein; Jon Smeltz; Russell Elevado; Steve Mandell.
Recording information: A House Called ?uest, Philadelphia, PA; Conway Studios, Los Angeles, CA; Electric Lady Studios, New York, NY; Encore Studios, Burbank, CA; Encore Studios, Los Angeles, CA; Glenwood Studios; The Boom Room, Philadelphia, PA; The Studio, Philadelphia, PA.
Photographers: Nichell Delvaille; F. Scott Schafer.
Despite what critics might have said about their two previous efforts, true hip-hop heads know that the Roots never fell off. On their seventh studio album, Philadelphia's favorite sons continue to elevate their signature sound that has for years appealed to rap purists and staggered the more critical listeners who love to lament the lack of musicianship in hip-hop.
Fans who were worried about how the crew's style would mesh with the Def Jam formula will be relieved from the gate, as the intro (an eerily ambient reworking of the Jay Dee-produced "Fantastic" intro) gives way to the upbeat, drum-driven "False Media." Equally relieving to longtime Roots fans is the return of Malik B whose aggressive delivery again provides balance to Black Thought's more measured cadence. On the whole, GAME THEORY contains heavier subject matter; the politics of the day pervade virtually every track, while the tone ranges from heated urgency ("Don't Feel Right" and "In The Music") to the uplifting and soulful ("Baby" and "Long Time") to sad introspection ("Atonement" and the bonus track tribute to the late Jay Dee). GAME THEORY is hip-hop with a message and shows us an angrier, more impassioned group of artists eager to tackle the issues confronting their community, yet still doing it with true bounce.