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The Roots
Things Fall Apart

Geffen Records

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 A TAV Essential Listening Album.

“Things Fall Apart (also referred to as When Things Fall Apart) is the fourth studio album by American hip hop band The Roots, released February 23, 1999 on Geffen Records. Recording sessions for the album took place at Electric Lady Studios during 1997 to 1999, coinciding with recording for other projects of the Soulquarians collective, including D'Angelo's Voodoo (2000), Erykah Badu's Mama's Gun (2000), and Common's Like Water for Chocolate (2000). According to Spin magazine, the album is a landmark moment for The Roots and the collective, as it "swelled the Roots clique into a movement-style posse".

The album has been considered by music writers as The Roots's breakthrough album, earning praise from major publications and critics, while becoming the group's first record to sell over 500,000 copies. It includes the song "You Got Me", which won the 2000 Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group, while Things Fall Apart was also nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album of the same year, losing to Eminem for his The Slim Shady LP. Rolling Stone called it a "top-flight record", while AllMusic cited it as "one of the cornerstone albums of alternative rap."The album takes its title from Chinua Achebe's novel of the same name, which in turn took the phrase from William Butler Yeats's poem "The Second Coming". As of April 5, 1999, Things Fall Apart has been certified gold in sales by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). As of April 24, 2013, Things Fall Apart has been certified platinum in sales by the Recording Industry Association of America.” - Wiki

"The Roots were one of the chief proponents of alternative hip-hop. And with this 1999 release (their fourth), they managed to capture their famously explosive live sound and break through to mainstream audiences. It couldn’t have happened on a more deserving record. “You Got Me”, the band’s excellent collaboration with Erykah Badu, was the hit (and a Grammy winner), but it’s one of many gems on the 15-track album.

Things Fall Apart is what music fans might call a grower. On first listen, it’s almost unwelcoming. Weird time signatures and abrupt shifts in tone punctuate abrasive rhyming and harsh, sometimes cacophonous lyrics. Indeed, any album that begins with this piece of dialogue from Spike Lee’s film Mo’ Better Blues demands to be met on its own terms: “The people don’t come because you grandiose motherfuckers don’t play shit that they like. If you played the shit that they liked the people would come. Simple as that.”

No, TFA is not for the faint of heart. The album takes its title from Chinua Achebe’s 1958 novel of the havoc wrought by colonialism in an African village (late in the album, the band name-checks the legendary author on the propulsive “100% Dundee”.) It’s a fitting title for an album that describes, in unflinching detail, the fractious nature of modern urban life. The band also rails against mediocrity in mainstream hip-hop, most notably on the scorching “Ain’t Sayin’ Nothin’ New”.

But the most startling thing about this album is the utter inventiveness and power of the music. Reaching back to hip-hop’s musical forebears (primarily jazz and funk), The Roots craft a potent sound collage for their trenchant manifesto. Along the way, they tap a who’s who of progressive hip-hop (Mos Def, Common, Jay Dee). The result is nothing less than a dark, urban opera for the new millennium." - Consequence of Sound

Item description:


The Roots


Things Fall Apart


Geffen Records


2 × Vinyl, LP, Album, Reissue, 180g



Release Date:

This reissue: 2013 | Original - 1999


Hip Hop


Conscious, Jazzy Hip-Hop

Catalog No: