Vulture

Skip to content, or skip to search.

right-click

The Roots Use Jim James Wisely

When the Roots announced last month that indie-rock unimpeachables Joanna Newsom and Jim James would be appearing on their new album How I Got Over, music nerds got all hot and bothered dreaming up the strange twists and turns the collabos could take. Turns out, that was a waste of time! At least for the Jim James appearance — on ‘Dear God 2.0 (How I Got Over),” which was released earlier today — the Roots went in the most obvious possible direction: sampling James's voice for the chorus (from the Monsters of Folk song “Dear God”) and having Black Thought rap during the verses. Piling on to the general shortage of inventiveness? That it’s the same tactic employed on the Roots' biggest radio hit to date, “The Seed 2.0” (which took over Cody Chesnutt’s original) down to the numerical formatting.

That doesn’t mean the song’s a waste of time, though: A four-minute chunk of generic-to-specific woe — Black Thought hops from calling out everything from police brutality, endangered animals, and air pollutants to himself, for being on the “Def Jam payment plan”— it fits right in along with the darky dark darkness of the Roots' last two awesome albums. But, yeah, we’re still a little salty Jim James didn’t get to spit.


Illustration: Mary-Louise Price; Photos by Albert Chau/FilmMagic, Sean Gardner/Getty Images