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Illadelph Halflife
Illadelph Halflife
Genres: Pop, Rap & Hip-Hop
  •  Track Listings (20) - Disc #1

Philly never gets its props, but the City of Brotherly Love has pioneered its fair share of hip-hop innovations. Schooly D was the first gangsta rapper; DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince perfected rap comedy, and the Root...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Roots
Title: Illadelph Halflife
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Geffen Records
Original Release Date: 9/24/1996
Release Date: 9/24/1996
Genres: Pop, Rap & Hip-Hop
Styles: East Coast, Experimental Rap, Pop Rap
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 720642497227, 0720642497227, 720642497210

Philly never gets its props, but the City of Brotherly Love has pioneered its fair share of hip-hop innovations. Schooly D was the first gangsta rapper; DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince perfected rap comedy, and the Roots became the first rap act to put together an impressive live show without samples and sequencers. On their third album, "illadelph halflife," {cq} the Roots capture in the studio the same chemistry between rhymes and live instruments that they've generated on stage. The album does include samples, but they're samples of the band's own exploratory jam sessions in Philadelphia's legendary Sigma Sound Studios. --Geoffrey Himes

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CD Reviews

You may have heard the rumors... they're true!
DukeOfEarl | Phoenix, AZ United States | 09/06/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The rumor: This is The Roots best album. The objective truth: Yes, it's true. And this was the 5th Roots album that I finally purchased after TFA, then DYWM, Phrenology, and Tipping Point. This album has a whole different feel and approach to it. "Illadelph Halflife" was their third LP, and where they finally showed us what they are entirely capable of. This one eclipsed what I thought was their best album before, "Do You Want More?!"
Where DYWM was really where you got to meet and get a good feel for this band, "Things Fall Apart" was more of a posse album, and "Phrenology" had some hard rock and neo-soul influence, this album is where Black Thought and Malik B. (M-illa-tant) shine lyrically. Actually, all those other albums frustrated me lyrically, great at times but sloppy and random at others. "Illadelph" is where I finally understood their lyrical approach, and it makes all the other albums easier to comprehend once you get this one down.
This album was very, very mellow; possibly so we can focus on the words. It feels like coffee shop Roots, where they are saying knowledge over chill beats instead of trying to rock a party. The album starts off nicely at track 2 "Respond/React" and does not let up until a short brake is taken at "? vs. Scratch" so we can finally catch up. "Section" contains an eerie, mellow beat, as does "Episodes." "It Just Don't Stop" is more about social analysis than glorifying happenings in the hood and the world, and is an excellent track. "Push Up Ya Lighter" is mellow at it's best and a memorable track leading into Black Thought's proclamation to never do "What They Do"-which is a poppy, slower-paced joint about reflecting and being aware of the type of music that the Roots do. Even though this album is focused on the lyrics, it's still a joy to hear the rest of the band (keyboards, drums) in the background and some jazz added as well.
There could be a heated argument over which half of this album is the best. I consider "Concierto of the Desperado" as kicking off the second half, and this track is hard-hitting and calls for "all the fake sh_t gots to go," which obviously still continued all these years, but it was a great effort nontheless. "Clones" is the only other hard-hitting track, and it is a good one, featuring Diceraw. "No Alibi" is probably my favorite joint on the whole album, where Malik and BT just lay the lyrics down perfectly over a nice beat. Malik's solo "No Pretenders" is excellent with Rahzel in the background, and listening to this shows why Malik is missed (not necessarily by the rest of the band, but by us Roots faithful). "The Hypnotic" is incredible as well, and is more captivating and powerful than the version off the "Men In Black" soundtrack (which is great as well). I almost forgot, on this album Common and Q-Tip give two of the best guest verses that you will ever hear on any album. Common on "UNIverse At War" which is excellent, and Q-Tip passing the mike with BT on "Ital." These two essential guest spots, among others, solidify this as a classic album and the Roots best. The album ends off with three non-lyrical tracks without the two front MC's, and although it doesn't hinder, they should have been shortened into a track or two.
In closing, you really need to get this album if you are a true hiphop head and have other Roots' cds already! This one really displays why The Roots are so valued by the underground hiphop base. I would recommend buying other Roots albums like TFA and DYWM first so you can truly appreciate this masterpiece once you get the privilege to hear it. Compared to your everyday, get-rich-now, fast-food recycling rappers, The Roots truly are committed to doing any thing other than "what they do!""
A Hip Hop Magnum Opus.
WILLIE A YOUNG II | Houston, TX. | 09/28/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"From Chuck D's spoken word intro, to his somber voiced outro 79 minutes later, this astounding album educates, infuriates, shocks and beats you into submission. And there's not a moment wasted. "Respond React" has the best understated melody and bassline ever recorded in rap music history and is positively addictive. Be forewarned, this is not radio-friendly pop rap ("What They Do" being the possible exception), but mind expansive, ambitious and lengthy hip hop, that not only educates, but keeps your head nodding for nearly 80 minutes. The grooves provided by ?uestlove (drums), Kamal (keys), Hub (bass & cello), Rahzel (every sound effect known to mankind) and the remarkable Scratch (self-explanatory) perfectly suuport the hardhitting, socially aware and endlessly inventive rhymes by Black Thought and Malik B and the result is musical murder! Guest spots by Q-Tip, D'Angelo, Common (on the hypnotic deep bass groove "UNIverse At War"), Amel Larrieux (the lovely, haunting, operatic soprano on the masterpiece "Concerto Of The Desperado"), Bahamadia (a smooth freestyle on the sparse yet still DOPE "Push Up Ya Lighter") and Cassandra Wilson whose vocals drift in and out of "One Shine" fill the album to overflowing with a variety of textures, sounds, voices and ambience, yet they don't disturb the flow of the music and don't feel forced or trendy. I suggest listening to this CD through headphones since the music is so intricate and detailed. It seems like a lot of sound and information to digest in one sitting, but once you hear it, you'll keep returning to it. I've owned this CD for almost 4 years now and still manage to hear something new and different everytime I put it on. The Roots have made listening to music an adventure, and easily rank as one of the best hip hop crews of all time. For my money, this is their best album. A genuinely satisfying listen."
One of the greatest Hip-Hop albums of all time.
J. Storm | The Abyss | 05/08/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I admit it, I was very late on this album. I just got it two weeks ago. But, as the saying goes, better late than never.
On "Illadelph Halflife," The Roots take it to a whole other level. "Do You Want More? " was classic material, but this is a far better album overall.
Philly's finest kick things off with the bangin "Respond/React." From here on, it's nothing but sheer brilliance. A perfect blend of bangin, street-edged tracks and smooth, jazzy, melodious tracks.
"Sections," "Push Up Ya Lighter," "Concerto Of The Desperado," "Clones," "UNIverse At War," and "Ital" (featuring Q-Tip), are all bangin, flawless tracks. Then "Episodes," "What They Do," "No Alibi," "The Hypnotic," and "One Shine," are all well-crafted smooth, jazzy tracks. "No Great Pretender" is easily the best track on this album, and it may be one of the greatest tracks of all time. If not one of the greatest, definitely one of the SMOOTHEST. The JFN's work on this track is beautiful.
And no Roots album would feel complete without Ursula Rucker's poetry. This album delivers there too, with "The Adventures In Wonderland." I love everything about "Illadelph Halflife." The lyrics (Black Thought is a genious on this album), the beats, the guest appearances, the diversity, and every other aspect an album is judged on. If you don't have this album, I very highly recommend it. You won't be disappointed!"