Between their gig at The Tonight Show, a healthy touring schedule, last year’s collaborative LP with Elvis Costello, and Questlove’s forays into basic cable, hip-hop icons The Roots still found time to record a new album. While its title was tentatively revealed way back in January 2013, Black Thought told XXL recently that And Then You Shoot Your Cousin is “coming soon, hopefully sometime this spring”.
As Black Thought explains, the outfit’s 11th studio effort is “another concept album in the spirit of (2011’s) undun, but it’s not just about just one kind of character. We create quite a few different characters in this record. It’s satire, but in that satire it’s an analysis of some of the stereotypes perpetuated in not only the hip-hop community, but in the community. I don’t know if that makes any sense.”
He added, “We created some of these characters that we kind of see. We as artists, musicians, Philadelphians, New Yorkers, we as black men, we’re familiar with very many of these characters, and we kind of introduce them to the rest of the world in a manner that makes them more easily understood than maybe seeing it.”
Though the album will be “short enough to take in, to digest in one sitting,” it’s far more “sonically dense” than its predecessor. “So dense that maybe in one sitting you’ll listen to it and only listen to the piano and string arrangements,” Black Thought said. “Then you’ll listen to it again and you’ll get into the actual words that are being said, and you’ll listen again and get into some of the other musicality. There’s very many layers to this record, but it doesn’t take place over very much time.”
While we await The Roots’ new release, the band’s breakthrough album, 1999’s Things Fall Apart, celebrated its 15th anniversary last Sunday. Revisit it below with a stream: