After three years reeling from a new visibility, The Roots resurfaced on the other side of the new millennium by making the deliberate choice to move forward. Phrenology, a flip of the discredited racialized pseudoscience, surges to life through a retracing of the lineage of Black music. The album revels in reinvention, leaving traces of Soulquarian magic while blatantly swerving the neo-soul box that brought them success. On its face, it’s frantic, indulgent, and the signature raucous Roots energy; beneath, it’s an extended meditation on what happens to hip-hop post-commodification, supported by a ceaseless barrage of beats and rhymes. The social tensions loop in the background, Black Thought aims in every direction, and The Roots crew lean into their pop/crossover potential without compromising their massive vision.