July 13, 2004: The Roots Hit The Tipping Point
The Roots’ sixth album, The Tipping Point, was their last album on Geffen Records and was inspired by Malcolm Gladwell’s 2000 book of the same name. According to Questlove, the project was a mid-life crisis for the group.
“12 years and no dance hit, but we're still here, and you know, I was just having one of those ‘whys?'” Questo explained in a 2005 interview with Blagmagazine.com. “I'm just like, 'Why are we still here?', 'Why do we still matter?’... because we’re against everything.”
“We're fundamentally against what hip-hop says that you're supposed to do,” he continued. “And that's when my manager hipped me to Malcolm Gladwell's book in which he said, 'You guys sort of spread like a germ without major hype, without a label cramming it down your throat, without the radio stations playing you umpteen times. So, that's the theory behind The Tipping Point."
The album also marked the first time all the Roots members were actually in the studio together for the recording process. The result was a jam session reminiscent of their early projects. Standout tracks include “Star,” “Somebody's Gotta Do It” (featuring Jean Grae and Devin the Dude) and "Don't Say Nuthin’."
In a 2017 Rolling Stone interview, Black Thought proclaimed that he invented mumble rap with the song "Don't Say Nuthin'."
"If we go back —that’s something I invented. I invented rapping without actually using the words," he explained. "With songs like “Don’t Say Nuthin’,” freestyles like “New Year’s At Jay Dee’s,” I essentially invented mumble rap, where you go for many bars without saying any words. And when I did it, it came from a place of being inspired by scatting."