Today on hidden gems we are going to talk about two landmark albums that turn 20 this year, and they are The Root’s Things Fall Apart and Yasiin Bey’s Black on Both Sides.
Things Fall Apart or When Things Fall Apart was the fourth album from The Roots in February of 1999. This album was way ahead of its time regarding the neo-soul music, jazz influence, brilliant lyrics and all around how anyone can listen to this and enjoy it, even if they don’t like hip hop. With such classic songs as The Next Movement, Double Trouble, Act Too ( The Love of My Life), and the song that put not only this album on the map, but made The Roots a household name You Got Me. If you have the time to listen to the whole album, listen to it as a whole first then listen to it again for the lyrics, and you see why this is so special when it came out.
Another Landmark album that came out in 1999 was Yasiin Bey, who was known as Mos Def at the time, solo first album Black on Both Sides. The album came out in October of 1999, a year after another landmark he worked on with Talib Kweli, and that was Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star. When news of Yasiin Bey was working on a solo album, the expectations for both he and the album was very high. When the album was released, it blew everyone away with the music on the album was fresh, different and showcase to the mainstream what was going on in the underground hip hop scene at the time. What also made this album so great and stood the test of time were the lyrics. The lyrics in this album were very socially conscious in what was happening at the time, and if you listen to the album today and pay attention to the lyrics in the album, they apply to what is going on in 2019. Listen to songs as Love, Speed Law, Umi Says, Mathematics.
What made these landmark album sand the test of time is how intelligent they are. In You Got Me, you may think is a long song between two people but in reality, it’s about how hard it is to say faithful to one another, and one little slip up can ruin a healthy relationship, no matter how loyal they say they are. Umi Says on the other hand talks about how people should unite because we all struggle as human beings at the end of the day, regardless of race, religion, and culture. If you have the time, go and download or buy the physical albums and see what made them so special back then and now.