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The Roots Share Four Alternate Covers For ‘Things Fall Apart’

The new vinyl editions will arrive on February 23/

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The Roots - Photo: Roberto Ricciuti/Getty Images
The Roots - Photo: Roberto Ricciuti/Getty Images

The Roots have shared four alternate covers for their classic album Things Fall Apart. New editions of the 1999 album will be released on February 23.

The original cover for the album displays a photograph taken during a riot in the civil rights movement era. In the black-and-white photo, riot police are seen chasing two Black teenagers on the streets of BedStuy in Brooklyn.

Recording Things Fall Apart at the famed Electric Lady Studios, The Roots immersed themselves in the creative energy of a place that sparked the neo-soul movement and the Soulquarians collective which had produced other landmark albums such as D’Angelo’s Voodoo (2000), Erykah Badu’s Mama’s Gun (2000), and Common’s Like Water for Chocolate (2000).

Prior to the release of Things Fall Apart, which hit the shelves on February 23, 1999, The Roots were in a place of transition and the stakes were high for their next project. In an interview with Complex in 2014, Black Thought recalled how the band were reevaluating their mission at the time. “It was relatively early on in our careers… Although there are people who regard Do You Want More?!!!??! as our first major release, I think Things Fall Apart was the real arrival of The Roots, so to speak.”

The album features production from Questlove, Kamal Gray, James Poyser, Jay Dee, and Scott Storch, all of whom contribute to a sonic masterpiece unlike any previous effort from The Roots. Combining the group’s unparalleled live instrumentation with classic sampling (like James Brown’s ubiquitous “Funky Drummer”), Things Fall Apart was a watershed moment in hip-hop. Not only did the production fire on all cylinders, but Black Thought made his ascent as one of the elite MCs in the game.

After grinding for almost ten years as the hardest working crew in hip-hop, Things Fall Apart secured The Roots the commercial success that they long deserved. The album was the group’s first to go gold, eventually selling over a million copies.

Pre-order the alternate cover versions of Things Fall Apart.

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