The Roots' 2006 Def Jam release "Game Theory" is one of those records that the world simply needed at the time it was released. Bush had two short years before he was pushed out of office; North Korea was beginning tests on their nuclear WMDs, the War on Terror was still striving to reach some unattainable goal. The American people's political tempers were successfully boiling over-- and this album is a distilled essence, raw, almost elemental in power, of that bitter spite for the government and its effect on American life.
It had been four years since The Roots had put out a record undoctored by the major record companies; their 2004 effort "The Tipping Point" is often noted for being more of a pop record, pressured into something less than art by the demands of Geffen Records. But "Game Theory" is far from anything pop-- it's certainly clear that their switch to Def Jam for this album resulted in a no-holds-barred, diss-laden tracklist chock full of acid tongue. The sounds are organic; the lyrics impeccably arranged. It's hard to find a weak point in "Game Theory." If one had to be noted, I would say that the tracks "Long Time" and "Baby" get slightly tedious around the half-to-3/4 point, but not too much that the flow of the record is interrupted in a notable way.
As great as this album is, I admit that it would take a mature mind to understand and appreciate the messages laced within. I recommend "Game Theory" for anyone over and including age 14, with slight restraint due to the explicit language evident often.
"False Media/Game Theory"
"Don't Feel Right"
"Clock With No Hands"
"Can't Stop This" [A tribute track to the late J Dilla] --Luke B. youtube.com/bechteloffices