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Studio album by The Roots
Released November 26, 2002
Recorded June 2000–September 2002
Genre Hip hop, neo soul, jazz, rock
Length 60:47
Label Geffen
Producer Questlove
Professional reviews
The Roots chronology
Things Fall Apart
The Tipping Point

Phrenology is the fifth studio album by American hip hop band The Roots, released November 26, 2002 on Geffen Records. Following the breakthrough success of Things Fall Apart (1999), its release was highly anticipated and delayed, as recording took two years. A production of the Soulquarians collective,[11] Phrenology features contributions by Cody ChesnuTT, Musiq Soulchild, Talib Kweli, and Jill Scott.

The album is named after the discredited pseudoscience of phrenology, the study of head shapes to determine intelligence and character, which was used to rationalize racism during the 19th century in the United States. Its cover art was created by artist/printmaker Tom Huck. Primarily a hip hop album, Phrenology also contains musical elements of rock, jazz, and soul music.[5][12][13][14]

While it did not parallel the commercial success of the band's previous album, Phrenology sold steadily and was eventually certified gold, signifying sales of at least 500,000 units. Phrenology earned positive reviews from music critics that praised its sound and balance of lyrical content.[3][7] The album earned universal acclaim from critics, based on an aggregate score of 87/100 from Metacritic.[15]


Track listing

  1. "Phrentrow" (featuring Ursula Rucker) – 0:18
  2. "Rock You" – 3:12
  3. "!!!!!!!" – 0:24
  4. "Sacrifice" (featuring Nelly Furtado) – 4:44
  5. "Rolling with Heat" (featuring Talib Kweli) – 3:42
  6. "WAOK (Ay) Rollcall" (featuring Ursula Rucker) – 1:00
  7. "Thought @ Work" – 4:58
  8. "The Seed (2.0)" (featuring Cody ChesnuTT) – 4:27
  9. "Break You Off" (featuring Musiq) – 7:27
  10. "Water" – 10:24
  11. "Quills" – 4:22
    • contains elements of "Breakout" by Swing Out Sister
  12. "Pussy Galore" – 4:29
  13. "Complexity" (featuring Jill Scott) – 4:47
  14. "Something in the Way of Things (In Town)" (featuring Amiri Baraka) – 7:16
  15. Untitled (hidden track, silent) – 0:20
  16. "Rhymes and Ammo/Thirsty! (featuring Talib Kweli and Dice Raw) – 8:00
  17. Untitled (hidden track, silent) – 0:07

Chart history

Year Album Chart positions
Billboard 200 Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums
2002 Phrenology #28 #11
Year Song Billboard Hot 100 Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks
2002 "Break You Off" #99 #55


  1. ^ Huey, Steve. Review: Phrenology. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2009-08-11.
  2. ^ Smith, RJ. Review: Phrenology. Blender. Retrieved on 2009-08-11.
  3. ^ a b Christgau, Robert. "Review: Phrenology". The Village Voice: January 14, 2003. Archived from the original on 2009-08-11.
  4. ^ Hiatt, Brian. Review: Phrenology. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2009-08-11.
  5. ^ a b Chennault, Sam. Review: Phrenology. Pitchfork Media. Retrieved on 2009-07-09.
  6. ^ Heaton, Dave. Review: Phrenology. PopMatters. Retrieved on 2009-12-05.
  7. ^ a b Blashill, Pat. Review: Phrenology. Rolling Stone. Retrieved on 2009-08-11.
  8. ^ Berliner, Brett. Review: Phrenology. Stylus Magazine. Retrieved on 2009-08-11.
  9. ^ Jones, Steve. Review: Phrenology. USA Today. Retrieved on 2009-08-11.
  10. ^ Tompkins, Dave. Review: Phrenology. The Village Voice. Retrieved on 2009-08-11.
  11. ^ Kot, Greg. "A Fresh Collective Soul?". Chicago Tribune: 1. March 19, 2000.
  12. ^ Petridis, Alexis. Review: Phrenology. The Guardian. Retrieved on 2009-07-09.
  13. ^ Sterling, Scott T. Review: Phrenology. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 2009-08-11.
  14. ^ Hoard, Christian. "Review: Phrenology". Rolling Stone: 702–703. November 2, 2004.
  15. ^ Phrenology (2002): Reviews. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2009-06-11.


  • Nathan Brackett, Christian Hoard (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide: Completely Revised and Updated 4th Edition. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-74320-169-8.  

External links



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