6. Rising Down (2008): Rising Down is an album with something to say. Or a few things to say, really, none of them very sunny. It's clear from the album's cover, a cartoon depiction of antiquated racial stereotypes. It's clear from the sequencing, as the record both opens and closes with recorded conversations in which the band members basically lose their shit in reaction to the treatment they're receiving from their label. This is a political, anti-industry, current-events-oriented, angry collection of songs -- and fortunately the Roots are often at their best when they're looking to make a point. If it falls short, it's only because its immediate predecessor, 2006's Game Theory, operated in much the same mindset, and did it more cohesively. Still, with rallying tracks like "I Will Not Apologize," "I Can't Help It," and the title track (featuring longtime collaborator Mos Def), Rising Down makes its point in an impressive way. Plus, in scrapping the inclusion of "Birthday Girl," the band's strangely out-of-character pop song with former Fall Out Boy frontman Patrick Stump, they did the album the biggest favor they could have, by not allowing it to undermine itself.