The Roots featuring Porn and Dice Raw "I Will Not Apologize"


Whether it was the official first single, relegated to bonus track status or pushed off as a stand-alone download, the ill-fitting Roots/ Patrick Stump collabo, “Birthday Girl”, just never sat well. It wasn’t all that bad of a song, but everyone sort of agreed that it is just too late in the game for our lone hip hop band to start chasing the pop charts in such an obvious way (plus, one Gym Class Heroes will do, thank you). Thankfully, the Philly ensemble’s eighth album, Rising Down, doesn’t follow in that direction at all, instead, finding them doing as they should and giving rap the politicized shot in the arm it needs to backdrop this tense election year.

Anchored by a nervy, ear-lobe tickling Afrobeat soundtrack, album cut “I Will Not Apologize” is a sure enough standout, pairing Black Thought with familiar Roots’ associates Porn and Dice Raw for some sharp-toothed venting. Nursing taut, rhythmic flows that compliment the track’s funky, “spy-creeping-through-the-shadows” undertone, the three emcees sound like they’re using all their might to stay on the right side of sanity, not wanting to completely succumb to heated inner boilings.

Thought scores in the role of a “felon for the second time” searching for the golden ticket that could set his life back on the right path. Even as he’s wrecked with never-ending worries (“Look into my daughter’s eyes/ Wonder how I can provide/ Got to get from A to B, but how can I afford to drive?/ Messed around, tried to get a job and wasn’t qualified”), he remains cool, calm and collected, refusing to fall victim to his plight. Elsewhere, Dice spews shame on his rhyming peers (“Jewels rented, cars rented/ Homie that ain’t authentic/ Actin’ tough on TV but to me you seem a little timid”), summing up the idiocies of the current rap game in a few acutely observant lines (“Actin’ like a monkey is the only way to sell tickets/ Shit I can dig it/ Niggas gossip silly digits/ White kids buy it/ It’s a riot”).

More than enough to make you forget that “Birthday Girl” ever existed, “I Will Not Apologize” plants The Roots right back where we want them, only affiliated with the “fall outs” that arise from their dynamic sixteens and blazing hot live jams.

DL: “I Will Not Apologize” (YFH)