For many artists it is often their first album or their second album that puts them on the map and becomes their career's finest work. But for longtime Philly crew The Roots their breakthrough album came a dozen years after they had first formed (and gone through some personnel changes in the interim) in the form of their fourth album, Things Fall Apart. The album, which was released in 1999 by MCA, was as much of a critical as a commercial success for the group. Additionally its recording overlapped with several others by members of the extended Soulquarians collective that included Erykah Badu and Common - both of whom made memorable contributions to Things, as did others such as Mos Def, Ursula Rucker, and J-Dilla (a.k.a. Jay Dee). See the music video for the Erykah Badu featured album track "You Got Me" below.
While Things Fall Apart was unmistakably The Roots' breakthrough album, it is just one of many must-have releases by the ever-prolific group whose many late night TV viewers have come to know as the Jimmy Fallon house band. Others include The Roots Come Alive and all the ones released just over the past couple of years by the group. These include 2010's How I Got Over (Island/Def Jam) and the excellent concept album released late in 2011, Undun. The Roots also collaborated with both John Legend on Wake Up and with Betty Wright for Betty Wright and the Roots: The Movie. Additionally, there is great compilation of the Roots' tracks that dropped four months ago -- the J. Period & Black Thought presented Best Of The Roots.