How I Got Over (album)

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This article is about an album. For a gospel song, see How I Got Over.
How I Got Over
Studio album by The Roots
Released June 22, 2010
Recorded A House Called Quest, Fruity Loops, The Boom Room, The Studio; Philadelphia
MSR Studios, New York City
Genre Hip hop[1]
Length 42:25
Label Def Jam
Producer Richard Nichols (exec.), Black Thought, Questlove, Dice Raw, Rick Friedrich
The Roots chronology
Rising Down
How I Got Over
Wake Up!
Singles from How I Got Over
  1. "How I Got Over"
    Released: June 25, 2009
  2. "Dear God 2.0"
    Released: May 22, 2010
  3. "The Fire"
    Released: June 1, 2010

How I Got Over is the ninth studio album by American hip hop band The Roots, released June 22, 2010 on Def Jam Recordings. It was produced primarily by band members Black Thought, Questlove, Dice Raw, and Rick Friedrich. The album has a subtle, somber sound and features lyrics concerning themes of existentialism, perseverance, and modern society. A hip hop album,[1] its music also draws on indie rock, soul, funk,[2] gospel,[3] and neo soul styles.[4]

The album debuted at number six on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 51,000 copies in its first week. How I Got Over received universal acclaim from music critics, several of whom named it one of the best albums of 2010.


In 2008, The Roots stated that their final album would be Rising Down (2008), until drummer and producer for The Roots, Questlove, stated via his Twitter account that the band would release an album called How I Got Over in the summer.[5] How I Got Over was recorded during The Roots' tenure as the house band for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.[6] It was recorded in sessions at several Philadelphia studios—A House Called Quest, Fruity Loops, The Boom Room, and The Studio—and at MSR Studios in New York City.[7]

The album was set to be released in February 2010,[8] but was subsequently pushed back to June 8, 2010.[9] Their ninth album,[10] it was released June 22, 2010 on Def Jam Recordings.[11]

Music and lyrics[edit]

From the tracks initially expected to make the album, only 'The Day', 'Walk Alone' and the title song 'How I Got Over' made the final track listing.[6][12] Similar to the previous The Roots full-length, 2008's Rising Down the album features a wide array of guest singers and rappers. John Legend appears on the single 'The Fire' and alternative rock group Monsters of Folk help The Roots remake their own song, 'Dear God' into an updated '...2.0' version which was released as the most promoted single.[6] The album also feature a track that samples Joanna Newsom's "Book of Right-On," a track featured on her 2004 release The Milk-Eyed Mender, as well as new overdubs for the track, The Roots' version appears under the title 'Right On' here.[6][13]

The album was expected to have political content relating to the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. On June 23, 2009, Billboard reported: "Among the tracks expected to make the cut are 'Walk Alone,' the vintage R&B-leaning 'Make a Move,' 'The Day' featuring Icelandic vocalist Patty Crash and a cover of Frank Zappa's instrumental classic 'Peaches en Regalia.' 'How I Got Over' is also expected to include a version of Cody Chesnutt's 'Serve This Royalty;' the singer-songwriter rose to fame in 2002 when the Roots re-recorded his song 'The Seed' for their album 'Phrenology'".[14]

Commercial performance[edit]

The album debuted at number six on the US Billboard 200 chart with first-week sales of 51,000 copies.[15] It also entered at number three on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and Rap Albums charts,[16][17] and at number four on the Digital Albums chart.[18] In Canada, the album entered at number 14 on the Top 100 Albums chart.[19] It also charted at number three in Switzerland, at number 117 in France, at number 61 in the Netherlands, and at number 35 in New Zealand.[20]

In its second week on the Billboard 200, How I Got Over dropped to number 17 and sold 21,000 copies.[21] It fell to number 25 on the chart and sold 14,000 copies in its third week.[22] By November 3, 2010, the album had sold 151,000 copies in the US.[23]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[24]
The A.V. Club A–[4]
Chicago Tribune 3.5/4 stars[25]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[26]
MSN Music A[1]
Pitchfork 8.1/10[27]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[28]
The Skinny 4/5 stars[29]
Spin 8/10[30]
URB 4.5/5 stars[31]

How I Got Over received widespread acclaim from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 86, based on 23 reviews.[32] Critics commended the album's slow-grooving sound, its guest artists' contributions, and its content's lyrical depth.[33] Allmusic's Andy Kellman described it as "deeply planted in realism... gracefully and cleverly sequenced".[24] Nathan Brackett, writing for Rolling Stone, complimented The Roots' incorporation of indie rock elements into their "in the pocket" sound.[28] Pitchfork Media's Nate Patrin called it "a particularly efficient album... the Roots' shortest (a lean 42 and a half minutes), one of their most lyrically straightforward, and a work of strong stylistic cohesion".[27] Greg Kot, writing for the Chicago Tribune, characterized its first half as a "brooding meditation" with a "jazz-soul vibe", while noting its second half as more upbeat "where the mellow melancholy of the album subtly brightens and the beats harden".[25] The A.V. Club's Nathan Rabin stated, "The sound is as airy and intimate as Rising Down was claustrophobic and menacing".[4]

In The New York Times, Jon Pareles appraised How I Got Over as a meditative work about self-determination particularly relevant to the contemporary economic downturn: "Even in its boasts, How I Got Over is selfless: an album of doubts, parables and pep talks".[3] James Shahan of URB found it "dark and tragic in places, but also enlightening and empowering".[31] Matthew Fiander of PopMatters called it "a timely, and honest, record about making it through tough times" and commended its "unified feel".[34] Spin's Charles Aaron said that "you'd have to rewind early-'90s Scarface or Wu-Tang for such convincingly cold-eyed hip-hop existentialism".[30] In MSN Music, Robert Christgau praised the rappers for expressing "garden-variety upper-middle-class anxiety ... directly, thoughtfully, eloquently, and entertainingly", and wrote that the Roots "up the ante and confront those anxieties with a fortitude and even optimism embodied by Kamal Gray's keyboards, never my idea of this band's strength, and, especially, ?uestlove's drums".[1] He later called it the Roots' "most substantial" album.[35]

In a mixed review, Eric Henderson from Slant Magazine found How I Got Over lyrically inconsistent and "mildly self-delusional", while calling it "stylistically the most inert, contemplative, offputtingly soft music they've possibly ever released".[36] Patrick Fennelly of State felt that the album becomes monotonous after starting strong with its first five songs.[37]


Metacritic listed How I Got Over as the 15th-best reviewed album of 2010.[38] Several critics included it in their top-10 albums lists for 2010. The album was ranked number seven by Vibe, number five by both The A.V. Club and Todd Martens of the Los Angeles Times, number 10 by both Consequence of Sound and Jim DeRogatis, and number three by BBC Music.[39] Robert Christgau, writing in the Barnes & Noble Review, named How I Got Over the best album of 2010 and stated, "in 2010 what sounded best was the Roots' brave and sometimes painful change-of-life hip-hop, a multivalent reflection on the pop lifer's danger years, the late thirties."[40] It was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album in 2010.[41]

Track listing[edit]

The track listing was confirmed by Okayplayer.[42]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "A Peace of Light" (featuring Amber Coffman, Angel Deradoorian & Haley Dekle) Ahmir Thompson, Ray Angry Thompson, Angry 1:50
2. "Walk Alone" (featuring Truck North, P.O.R.N. & Dice Raw) Tariq Trotter, Jamal Miller, Greg Spearman, Karl Jenkins, Jeremy Grenhart, Rick Friedrich Thompson, Grenhart, Jenkins, Richard Nichols 3:55
3. "Dear God 2.0" (featuring Monsters of Folk) Trotter, Thompson, Pedro Martinez, Nichols, Jim James Thompson, Nichols, Martinez 3:52
4. "Radio Daze" (featuring Blu, P.O.R.N. & Dice Raw) Trotter, Johnson Barnes, Spearman, Jenkins, Grenhart, Friedrich Thompson, Grenhart, Jenkins 4:16
5. "Now or Never" (featuring Phonte & Dice Raw) Trotter, Phonte Coleman, Grenhart, Jenkins Thompson, Grenhart, Jenkins 4:34
6. "How I Got Over" (featuring Dice Raw) Trotter, Jenkins, Grenhart, Friedrich Thompson, Grenhart, Jenkins, Nichols, Friedrich 3:36
7. "DillaTUDE: The Flight of Titus"   Thompson, Angry Thompson, Angry 0:42
8. "The Day" (featuring Blu, Phonte & Patty Crash) Trotter, Thompson, Coleman, Barnes, Jenkins, Katrin Newman, James Poyser, Kirk Douglas, James Gray, Owen Biddle, Franklin Walker, Damon Bryson The Roots, Nichols 3:44
9. "Right On" (featuring Joanna Newsom & STS) Trotter, Thompson, Don Carlos Price, Joanna Newsom, Delon Lawrence Thompson, Alectrick.Kom 3:36
10. "Doin' It Again"   Trotter, Thompson, John Stephens Thompson 2:24
11. "The Fire" (featuring John Legend) Trotter, Thompson, Friedrich, Jenkins Thompson, Jenkins, Nichols, Friedrich 3:41
12. "Tunnel Vision"   Thompson, Angry Thompson, Angry 0:40
13. "Web 20/20" (featuring Peedi Peedi & Truck North) Trotter, Thompson, Pedro Zayas, Miller Thompson 2:46
14. "Hustla" (featuring STS) (bonus track) Trotter, Thompson, Price, Thomas Pentz Thompson, Pentz 2:56


Credits for How I Got Over adapted from liner notes.[43]

Chart history[edit]

Charts (2010) Peak
Canadian Albums Chart[19] 14
Dutch Albums Chart[20] 33
French Albums Chart[20] 117
New Zealand Albums Chart[20] 35
Swiss Albums Chart[20] 3
US Billboard 200[20] 6
US Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Albums[16] 3
US Billboard Rap Albums[17] 3


  1. ^ a b c d Christgau, Robert (November 30, 2010). "Consumer Guide". MSN Music. Archived from the original on November 30, 2010. Retrieved November 30, 2010. 
  2. ^ Vozick-Levinson, Simon. Review: How I Got Over. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on June 19, 2010.
  3. ^ a b Pareles, Jon. Review: How I Got Over. The New York Times. Retrieved on June 21, 2010.
  4. ^ a b c Rabin, Nathan. Review: How I Got Over. The A.V. Club. Retrieved on June 29, 2010.
  5. ^ Roots Do Residencies ?uestlove Twitters Album Title. Pitchfork Media. Retrieved on May 18, 2010.
  6. ^ a b c d The Roots Enlist John Legend, Others For "How I Got Over". HipHopDX. Retrieved on June 7, 2010.
  7. ^ "Roots - How I Got Over CD Album". CD Universe. Muze. Retrieved March 25, 2013. 
  8. ^ "The Roots Push Back "How I Got Over"". okayplayer. June 10, 2009. Retrieved June 11, 2009. 
  9. ^ "The Roots' 'How I Got Over' Out in June". March 5, 2010. Retrieved March 25, 2010. 
  10. ^ ?uestlove Reveals New Roots Album Title 'How I Got Over'. Retrieved on May 18, 2010.
  11. ^ Island Def Jam
  12. ^ Roots Working With Dirty Projectors. Pitchfork Media. Retrieved on May 20, 2010.
  13. ^ The Roots enlist Joanna Newsom, John Legend, Jim James for new album. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on May 20, 2010.
  14. ^ Roots to Debut New Singles on Jimmy Fallon. Billboard. Retrieved on May 18, 2010.
  15. ^ Caulfield, Keith. Eminem's Huge 'Recovery' Leads Big Week On Billboard 200. Billboard. Retrieved on June 30, 2010.
  16. ^ a b R&B/Hip-Hop Albums - Week of July 10, 2010. Billboard. Retrieved on June 26, 2010.
  17. ^ a b Rap Albums - Week of July 10, 2010. Billboard. Retrieved on June 26, 2010.
  18. ^ Digital Albums - Week of July 10, 2010. Billboard. Retrieved on June 26, 2010.
  19. ^ a b Top 100 - For the Week Ending 1 July, 2010. Jam!. Retrieved on June 31, 2010.
  20. ^ a b c d e f Album Performance: How I Got Over. acharts. Retrieved on July 15, 2010. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "acharts" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  21. ^ Jacobs, Allen. Hip Hop Album Sales: The Week Ending 7/4/2010. HipHopDX. Retrieved on July 15, 2010.
  22. ^ Jacobs, Allen. Hip Hop Album Sales: The Week Ending 7/11/2010. HipHopDX. Retrieved on July 15, 2010.
  23. ^ [1]
  24. ^ a b Kellman, Andy. Review: How I Got Over. Allmusic. Retrieved on June 22, 2010.
  25. ^ a b Kot, Greg. Review: How I Got Over. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved on July 8, 2010.
  26. ^ Simpson, Dave. Review: How I Got Over. The Guardian. Retrieved on July 2, 2010.
  27. ^ a b Patrin, Nate. Review: How I Got Over. Pitchfork Media. Retrieved on June 25, 2010.
  28. ^ a b Brackett, Nathan. Review: How I Got Over. Rolling Stone. Retrieved on June 22, 2010.
  29. ^ Drever, Ryan (July 19, 2010). "The Roots – How I Got Over". The Skinny. Retrieved March 25, 2013. 
  30. ^ a b Aaron, Charles. Review: How I Got Over. Spin. Retrieved on June 21, 2010.
  31. ^ a b Shahan, James (June 21, 2010). "The Roots - How I Got Over". URB. Archived from the original on December 5, 2011. Retrieved September 7, 2015. 
  32. ^ How I Got Over (2010): Reviews. Metacritic. Retrieved on June 21, 2010.
  33. ^ Burns, Zeenat. June's Best New Music. Metacritic. Archived on June 29, 2010.
  34. ^ Fiander, Matthew. Review: How I Got Over. PopMatters. Retrieved on June 26, 2010.
  35. ^ Christgau, Robert (June 17, 2013). "Give the Drummer Some". The Barnes & Noble Review. Retrieved June 15, 2013. 
  36. ^ Henderson, Eric. Review: How I Got Over. Slant Magazine. Retrieved on June 23, 2010.
  37. ^ Fennelly, Patrick (August 24, 2010). "The Roots – How I Got Over". State. Retrieved March 25, 2013. 
  38. ^ Dietz, Jason. "Best Albums of 2010". Metacritic. Retrieved March 25, 2013. 
  39. ^ Dietz, Jason (December 6, 2010). "2010 Music Critic Top Ten Lists". Metacritic. Retrieved March 25, 2013. 
  40. ^ Christgau, Robert (January 12, 2011). "Live Albums". Barnes & Noble Review. Retrieved March 25, 2013. 
  41. ^ Nominees: 2010 - 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards. Retrieved on December 2, 2010.
  42. ^ Audio: The Roots "The Fire" feat. John Legend. Retrieved on June 10, 2010.
  43. ^ Track listing and credits as per liner notes for How I Got Over album

External links[edit]