Illadelph Halflife

Illadelph Halflife
Studio album by The Roots
Released September 24, 1996
Recorded 1996
Genre Hip hop, Underground Hip Hop, Alternative Hip Hop, Jazz Rap
Length 78:45
Label DGC, Geffen
Producer The Grand Negaz, Kelo, Questlove
The Roots chronology
Do You Want More?!!!??!
Illadelph Halflife
Things Fall Apart
Singles from Illadelph Halflife
  1. "Clones"
    Released: July 16, 1996
  2. "Concerto of the Desperado"
    Released: 1996
  3. "What They Do"
    Released: November 19, 1996

Illadelph Halflife is the third studio album by American hip hop band The Roots, released September 24, 1996 on Geffen Records. It features a tougher and broader sound than their previous album, Do You Want More?!!!??! (1995).[1] The album also contains integration of programmed drums and guest contributions by R&B musicians such as Amel Larrieux and D'Angelo, as well as jazz musicians such as David Murray, Steve Coleman, Cassandra Wilson, Graham Haynes.[1][2] In 1998, the album was selected as one of The Source's 100 Best Rap Albums. In 2006, the album was selected as one of Hip-Hop Connection's 100 Best Rap Albums from 1995 to 2005.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Chicago Tribune[4]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music[5]
Entertainment WeeklyA−[6]
Los Angeles Times[7]
Rolling Stone[9]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[10]
The Source4.5/5[11]

The New York Times writer Neil Strauss called the album "one of the year's best rap offerings" and wrote that "The Roots move indiscriminately from politically conscious lyrics (not just about black America but also about Bosnia, the Olympics and terrorism) to silly rhymes ('roam like a cellular phone/far from home')".[13] The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote that "while it doesn't sacrifice a smidgen of street-level intensity, it reaffirms just how far-reaching (and how far removed from the gangsta stereotype) hip-hop can be".[14] The Source magazine called it "a thoughtful musical endeavor... an emotional and spiritually fulfilling aural experience".[11] Spin described it as "an artistic progression, and added confirmation of the Roots' place at hip-hop's vanguard".[12] The San Diego Union-Tribune's Jeff Niesel stated "the Roots find the perfect mixture of jazz and hip-hop for their songs about the hardships of urban life".[15]

The Village Voice's Robert Christgau gave the album a (neither) rating,[16] which indicates a record that "may impress once or twice with consistent craft or an arresting track or two. Then it won't.".[17] However, Illadelph Halflife was ranked number 33 on The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop critics' poll of 1996.[18] A 2004 retrospective review by Rolling Stone rates the album perceives it as an improvement over The Roots's previous work, stating "The messages grew more focused on 1996's Illadelph Halflife, which includes several strident anti-gangsta tirades and taunts. Black Thought replaced the bellicose, confrontational bravado of so many rappers with discussions of fidelity and responsibility".[10]

Track listing

No. Title Length
1. "Intro"   0:34
2. "Respond / React"   5:07
3. "Section"   4:08
4. "Panic!!!!!!"   1:24
5. "It Just Don't Stop"   4:33
6. "Episodes" (featuring Dice Raw) 5:56
7. "Push Up Ya Lighter" (featuring Bahamadia) 4:36
8. "What They Do" (featuring Raphael Saadiq) 5:57
9. "? Vs. Scratch"   1:47
10. "Concerto Of The Desperado"   3:38
11. "Clones" (featuring Dice Raw, M.A.R.S.) 4:54
12. "UNIverse At War" (featuring Common) 4:55
13. "No Alibi"   5:11
14. "Dave Vs. US"   0:50
15. "No Great Pretender"   4:25
16. "The Hypnotic" (featuring D'Angelo) 5:19
17. "Ital (The Universal Side)" (featuring Q-Tip) 4:53
18. "One Shine" (featuring Joshua Redman, Cassandra Wilson) 5:40
19. "The Adventures In Wonderland" (featuring Ursula Rucker) 4:34
20. "Outro"   0:15


Chart (1996) Peak
US Billboard 200[19] 21
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[20] 4



  1. 1 2 Aaron, Charles (June 2008). "Discography: ?uestlove". Spin. 24 (6): 88. Retrieved August 19, 2016.
  2. Linden, Amy. "Illadelph Halflife". Yahoo! Music. Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved October 20, 2009.
  3. Bush, John. "Illadelph Halflife – The Roots". AllMusic. Retrieved October 17, 2009.
  4. McKeough, Kevin (November 8, 1996). "The Roots: Illadelph Halflife (DGC)". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 19, 2016.
  5. Larkin, Colin (2007). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-857-12595-8.
  6. Diehl, Matt (September 27, 1996). "Illadelph Halflife". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 19, 2016.
  7. Coker, Cheo Hodari (October 23, 1996). "The Roots, 'Illadelph Halflife,' DGC". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 17, 2009.
  8. Willmott, Ben (March 15, 1997). "The Roots – Illadelph Halflife". NME. Archived from the original on August 17, 2000. Retrieved August 19, 2016.
  9. Powell, Kevin (October 24, 1996). "The Roots: Illadelph Halflife". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on December 23, 2009. Retrieved October 7, 2009.
  10. 1 2 Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon & Schuster. pp. 702–03. ISBN 0-743-20169-8.
  11. 1 2 McGregor, Tracii (October 1996). "The Roots: Illadelph/halflife Vol. 3". The Source (85): 117. Retrieved May 17, 2010.
  12. 1 2 Hinds, Selwyn Seyfu (October 1996). "The Roots: Illadelph Halflife". Spin. 12 (7): 130. Retrieved May 17, 2010.
  13. Strauss, Neil (August 2, 1996). "Hip-Hop Classicists". The New York Times. Retrieved October 17, 2009.
  14. "Now For Good News About Rap: The Roots" (Transcription of original review at talk page). The Philadelphia Inquirer. September 25, 1996. p. D01. Retrieved May 17, 2010. (subscription required (help)).
  15. Niesel, Jeff (October 24, 1996). "The Roots: Illadelph Halflife". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved May 17, 2010. (subscription required (help)).
  16. Christgau, Robert. "The Roots". Retrieved October 17, 2009.
  17. Christgau, Robert. "CG 90s: Key to Icons". Retrieved October 17, 2009.
  18. "The 1996 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". The Village Voice. February 25, 1997. Retrieved October 17, 2009.
  19. "The Roots – Chart history" Billboard 200 for The Roots. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  20. "The Roots – Chart history" Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums for The Roots. Retrieved September 19, 2013.


External links

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