…And Then You Shoot Your Cousin
Long time indie hip hop favorites The Roots are back at it again with their 11th, yes their 11th studio album, …and then you shoot your cousin. Uh-huh — absolutely not a typo. Tuesday’s release also happens to be their first studio album since 2011’s highly excellent and highly underrated Undun. (Well, that notion could just about sum up this legendary crew’s entire career.) You can bet Questlove and the very large Roots gang are all in on this, perhaps understated, albeit ambitious hip-hop record.
The Roots have kept incredibly busy since landing the gig as Jimmy Fallon’s house band, first on Late Night and more recently when Fallon made the jump to The Tonight Show, replacing Jay Leno. However, The Roots have still managed to put out some solid records in that time and their latest effort is no exception. When listening to …atysyc, you get the impression that this is a band seasoned with years of experience.
In classic Roots style this is an album that is rooted (pardon the pun) in musicianship. Not that I’m “Sermonizing” that other hip-hop artists aren’t musicians, but there is something to be said for the fact that The Roots are actually a well-oiled machine as a band — and not a couple of guys sitting in a studio making beats on a laptop. This notion comes across even more so in recent years than it did on their early records, possibly because they are forced to be so meticulous and on point 5-nights a week on network television.
The album is another concept record, clearly focusing on violence portrayed within the genre, but more than that it is very engaging and refreshing. You just don’t hear this kind of hip hop in the mainstream all that much anymore and to me, this is how hip hop should sound.
The album has a few very notable highlights, such as “The Dark” and “When the People Cheer”, but my ear-buds tell me that the closing track, “Tomorrow”, is the true congregational standout. Raheem DeVaughn offers up his vocals for this fantastic tune that makes you want to live your life to the fullest.
All in all, this isn’t the best album that The Roots have ever put out — as that makes for one hell of a debate, eh? — but there are certainly no signs of Philly’s finest slipping. Showbiz, or not.
(Flip the page for Atmosphere!)