Illadelph Halflife

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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
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[3]
Entertainment Weekly A−[4]
Los Angeles Daily News 4/4 stars[5]
Los Angeles Times 3.5/4 stars[6]
The New York Times favorable[7]
The Philadelphia Inquirer 3.5/4 stars[8]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[9]
The Source 4.5/5 stars[10]
Spin 9/10[11]
Vibe favorable[12]

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')".[7] The Philadelphia Inquirer gave it 3½ out of 4 stars and 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".[8] Giving it 4½ out of 5 mics, The Source magazine called it "a thoughtful musical endeavor... an emotional and spiritually fulfilling aural experience".[10] Spin described it as "an artistic progression, and added confirmation of the Roots' place at hip-hop's vanguard", giving it a 9/10 rating.[11] The San Diego Union-Tribune's Jeff Niesel gave it 3 out of 4 stars, stating "the Roots find the perfect mixture of jazz and hip-hop for their songs about the hardships of urban life".[13]

The Village Voice's Robert Christgau gave the album a (neither) (neither) rating,[14] which indicates a record that "may impress once or twice with consistent craft or an arresting track or two. Then it won't.".[15] However, Illadelph Halflife was ranked number 33 on The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop Critics Poll of 1996.[16] A 2004 retrospective review by Rolling Stone rates the album with 4 out of 5 stars and 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".[17]

Track listing[edit]

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
  • The track listing on some album releases denotes the first track as track #34 [combining the track totals from Organix (17 tracks) and Do You Want More?!!!??! (16 tracks) making 33 total tracks]. The rest of the tracks continue upward from 34 to the Outro (being track #53)


Chart (1996) Peak
US Billboard 200[18] 21
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[19] 4


  • Producer(s): The Grand Negaz, Questlove, Kelo, Scott Storch
  • Executive Producer: Richard Nichols
  • Photography: Michael Lavine


  1. ^ a b Aaron, Charles. "Review: Illadelph Halflife". Spin: 88. June 2008.
  2. ^ Linden, Amy. Review: Illadelph Halflife. Yahoo! Music. Retrieved on 2009-10-17.
  3. ^ Bush, John. Review: Illadelph Halflife. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2009-10-17.
  4. ^ Diehl, Matt. Review: Illadelph Halflife. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2009-10-17.
  5. ^ Werner, Ben. "Review: Illadelph Halflife". Los Angeles Daily News: January 17, 1997.
  6. ^ Coker, Cheo Hodari. Review: Illadelph Halflife. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 2009-10-17.
  7. ^ a b Strauss, Neil. Review: Illadelph Halflife. The New York Times. Retrieved on 2009-10-17.
  8. ^ a b Columnist. "Review: Illadelph Halflife". The Philadelphia Inquirer: D01. September 25, 1996. (Transcription of original review at talk page)
  9. ^ Powell, Kevin. Review: Illadelph Halflife. Rolling Stone. Retrieved on 2009-10-07.
  10. ^ a b Columnist. "Review: Illadelph Halflife". The Source: 117. October 1996. Archived from the original on 2010-05-17.
  11. ^ a b Hinds, Selwyn Seyfu. "Review: Illadelph Halflife". Spin: 130. October 1996.
  12. ^ Mao, Chairman. "Review: Illadelph Halflife". Vibe: 138. October 1996.
  13. ^ Niesel, Jeff. "Review: Illadelph Halflife". The San Diego Union-Tribune: October 24, 1996.
  14. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Review: Illadelph Halflife". The Village Voice:
  15. ^ Christgau, Robert. CG 90s: Key to Icons. Robert Christgau. Retrieved on 2009-10-17.
  16. ^ Staff. "The 1996 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". The Village Voice: February 25, 1997.
  17. ^ Hoard, Christian. "Review: Illadelph Halflife". Rolling Stone: 702–703. November 2, 2004.
  18. ^ "The Roots – Chart history" Billboard 200 for The Roots. Retrieved 2013-09-18.
  19. ^ "The Roots – Chart history" Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums for The Roots. Retrieved September 19, 2013.


External links[edit]