Tomorrow (Sept. 17, 2013) Philadelphia based Hip-Hop band, The Roots, released their collaborative album “Wise Up Ghost,” with British New Wave artists Elvis Costello. As the house band on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” The Roots have proven to audiences that they are capable of adapting to any musical genre, so making a New Wave album was no surprise to anyone.
Upon first listening to “Wise Up Ghost,” many fans will be surprised to learn The Roots lead emcee, Black Thought, is not featured on this cross-genre project. Fans have known the Roots to be innovators who try new things musically. For that reason, fans should listen to the album regardless of Black’s absence. Yes, many will miss Black Thought’s hard hitting lyrical delivery but it will not detour long-time Roots fans from enjoying this album to the fullest.
It is easy to tell Costello and The Roots had a lot of chemistry creating this album. Costello’s sly voice and the Roots smooth grooves put the listener at ease. There are certain times on this album where it would have been interesting to hear how Black Thought and Elvis Costello could have collaborated on a track. Songs like “Wake Me Up” and “Viceroy Roy” both have a high drum presence, which could have easily allowed Black Thought to rhyme without disturbing the flow of the song. The tracks are a joy to listen to regardless.
As expected, “Wise Up Ghost” pushed both The Roots and Elvis Costello to new musical grounds. Costello’s voice and ?uestlove’s drum patterns complement each other perfectly and create a wildly creative album which fans of both artists can appreciate. This album is not intended for younger audiences, not because of vulgarity, because it takes a level of maturity to comprehend the meaning behind Costello’s lyrics. For some, it may take two or three listens.
Overall Rating: A