While dissent is currently more in vogue than ever, it must be said that the intense pessimism on the Roots’ tenth LP has been bubbling for years. Just look at the album titles. Where The Tipping Point and Game Theory name-dropped concepts for forming consensus and resolving conflicts, Rising Down quotes William T. Vollman’s massive treatise on politically motivated violence. This album’s a work of incredible synergy, connecting local, national and global crises over urgent beats propelled by mostly percussive and electronic instrumentation. Black Thought and guests rap with captivating immediacy over ?uestlove’s stripped sounds. The title song features Styles P and Mos Def (with his best verse in much too long), while Thought warns of class-determined disaster: “You in trouble if you not an Onassis.” Later on ‘I Can’t Help It’, he laments having to sell discontent like another product. “I’m feeling like I’m making a sales pitch,” Thought complains. “I got too many options, it’s so many toxins.” More than ever before, the world should be ready for the Roots’ smartly politicized hip-hop.