Illadelph Halflife

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Illadelph Halflife
Illadelph Halflife cover.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 24, 1996
GenreHip hop, underground hip hop, jazz rap
LabelDGC, Geffen
ProducerThe Grand Negaz, Questlove, Black Thought, Kelo, Q-Tip (The Ummah), Raphael Saadiq, Scratch, Chaos, L.A. Jay, Slimkid3, Scott Storch
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 DGC and 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. The master tapes for the album were destroyed in a fire at the Universal Studios back lot in 2008.[3][4]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Alternative Press3/5[6]
Chicago Tribune[7]
Entertainment WeeklyA−[8]
Los Angeles Times[9]
Rolling Stone[11]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[12]
The Source4.5/5[13]

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')".[15] 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".[16] Tracii McGregor of The Source magazine called it "a thoughtful musical endeavor ... an emotional and spiritually fulfilling aural experience".[13] Spin critic Selwyn Seyfu Hinds described it as "an artistic progression, and added confirmation of the Roots' place at hip-hop's vanguard".[14] 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".[17]

The Village Voice's Robert Christgau gave the album a (neither) (neither) rating,[18] which indicates a record that "may impress once or twice with consistent craft or an arresting track or two. Then it won't."[19] However, Illadelph Halflife was ranked number 33 on The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop critics' poll of 1996.[20] A 2004 retrospective review by Rolling Stone perceived 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".[12]

Track listing[edit]

Continuation from Do You Want More???

34."Intro"  0:34
35."Respond/React"Ahmir Thompson, Kenyatta Williams, Malik Abdul-Basit, Tariq TrotterKelo, Black Thought (co.), Questlove (add.)5:07
36."Section"Thompson, Kamal Gray, Abdul-Basit, TrotterThe Grand Negaz, Kelo (co.)4:08
37."Panic!!!!!"Thompson, Rahzel Brown, TrotterQuestlove, The Grand Negaz (co.), Rahzel (co.)1:24
38."It Just Don't Stop"Gray, Williams, Leonard Hubbard, Abdul-Basit, TrotterKelo4:33
39."Episodes" (featuring Dice Raw)Thompson, Gray, Karl Jenkins, Melvin Lewis, Abdul-Basit, Trotter, Tracey MooreChaos, Questlove (co.)5:56
40."Push Up Ya Lighter" (featuring Bahamadia)Thompson, Antonia Reed, Gray, Abdul-Basit, TrotterThe Grand Negaz, Kelo (co.)4:36
41."What They Do" (featuring Raphael Saadiq)Thompson, Gray, Hubbard, Raphael Saadiq, Brown, TrotterQuestlove, The Grand Negaz (co.), Raphael Saadiq (co.)5:57
42."? vs. Scratch"Thompson, Kyle JonesQuestlove, Scratch1:47
43."Concerto of the Desperado"Williams, TrotterKelo3:38
44."Clones" (featuring Dice Raw & M.A.R.S.)Jenkins, Williams, Phillip Blenman, Abdul-Basit, TrotterKelo4:54
45."UNIverse at War" (featuring Common)Hubbard, Lonnie Lynn, Lewis, TrotterChaos4:55
46."No Alibi"Thompson, Gray, Hubbard, Abdul-Basit, TrotterThe Grand Negaz, Chaos (co.)5:11
47."Dave vs. US"Thompson, David Murray, BrownThe Grand Negaz0:50
48."No Great Pretender"Thompson, Brown, Abdul-BasitThe Grand Negaz4:25
49."The Hypnotic" (featuring D'Angelo)Thompson, Trotter, Trevant HardsonQuestlove, L.A. Jay (co.), Slimkid3 (co.)5:19
50."Ital (The Universal Side)" (featuring Q-Tip)Thompson, Kamaal Fareed, Gray, TrotterThe Grand Negaz, The Ummah (co.)4:53
51."One Shine" (featuring Joshua Redman & Cassandra Wilson)Thompson, Hubbard, Scott Storch, TrotterThe Grand Negaz5:40
52."The Adventures in Wonderland" (featuring Ursula Rucker)Thompson, Ursula RuckerThe Grand Negaz, Questlove (co.)4:34
53."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)

Usage of songs[edit]

The intro of the song named "Section" is sampled by Jeremy Harding for his "Playground riddim", which was later used as the instrumental for Beenie Man's 1997 single "Who Am I (Sim Simma)".[21]


Chart (1996) Peak
US Billboard 200[22] 21
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[23] 4



  1. ^ a b Aaron, Charles (June 2008). "Discography: ?uestlove". Spin. Vol. 24, no. 6. p. 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. ^ Rosen, Jody (2019-06-11). "The Day the Music Burned". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-06-12.
  4. ^ @questlove (2019-06-11). "For everyone asking why Do You Want More & Illdelph Halflife wont get reissue treatment" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 2019-06-12. Retrieved 2019-06-11 – via Twitter.
  5. ^ Bush, John. "Illadelph Halflife – The Roots". AllMusic. Retrieved October 17, 2009.
  6. ^ "The Roots: Illadelph Halflife". Alternative Press. No. 103. February 1997. p. 68.
  7. ^ McKeough, Kevin (November 8, 1996). "The Roots: Illadelph Halflife (DGC)". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 19, 2016.
  8. ^ Diehl, Matt (September 27, 1996). "Illadelph Halflife". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 19, 2016.
  9. ^ Coker, Cheo Hodari (October 23, 1996). "The Roots, 'Illadelph Halflife,' DGC". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 17, 2009.
  10. ^ Willmott, Ben (March 15, 1997). "The Roots – Illadelph Halflife". NME. Archived from the original on August 17, 2000. Retrieved August 19, 2016.
  11. ^ Powell, Kevin (October 24, 1996). "The Roots: Illadelph Halflife". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on December 23, 2009. Retrieved October 7, 2009.
  12. ^ a b Moon, Tom (2004). "The Roots". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 702–03. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  13. ^ a b McGregor, Tracii (October 1996). "The Roots: Illadelph/halflife Vol. 3". The Source. No. 85. p. 117. Retrieved May 17, 2010.
  14. ^ a b Hinds, Selwyn Seyfu (October 1996). "The Roots: Illadelph Halflife". Spin. Vol. 12, no. 7. p. 130. Retrieved May 17, 2010.
  15. ^ Strauss, Neil (August 2, 1996). "Hip-Hop Classicists". The New York Times. Retrieved October 17, 2009.
  16. ^ "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.
  17. ^ Niesel, Jeff (October 24, 1996). "The Roots: Illadelph Halflife". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved May 17, 2010.
  18. ^ Christgau, Robert. "The Roots". Retrieved October 17, 2009.
  19. ^ Christgau, Robert. "CG 90s: Key to Icons". Retrieved October 17, 2009.
  20. ^ "The 1996 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". The Village Voice. February 25, 1997. Retrieved October 17, 2009.
  21. ^ "Questlove Froman, on Instagram "I'm first gold record I ever got was #WhoAmI (my second was @redmangilla's #IllBeDat —-who sampled....said Bennie jawn lol) but…"". Questlove on Instagram. 2020-05-20. Archived from the original on 2021-12-24. Retrieved 2020-05-27.
  22. ^ "The Roots Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  23. ^ "The Roots Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved September 19, 2013.
  24. ^ "Ital (The Universal Side)"--The Roots feat. Q-Tip (1996) Vibe. Accessed on September 23, 2018.


External links[edit]