Black Thought Talks The Roots New LP Dropping Spring 2014

Black Thought recently revealed that The Roots‘ forthcoming 11th studio LP will be another concept album a la undun, which was constructed around the tragic life-narrative of troubled protagonist Redford Stevens. The new project will be the latest offering from the legendary crew following the critically-acclaimed Wise Up Ghost LP – The Roots’ collaborative project with Elvis Costello, which dropped this past fall. Questlove teased the title …And Then You Shoot Your Cousin (or &TYSYC for short) about a year ago. Now comes word that the project is closer to materializing than most might have thought. News of the project dropping this spring via Def Jam, conveniently follows the 15th anniversary of their seminal Things Fall Apart LP, which dropped in 1999 and netted a trophy for “You Got Me” at the 42nd Annual Grammy Awards. In a recent chop up session with XXL Magazine, Black Thought discussed the forthcoming project in detail:

“We’re close to being done on it, it’s coming soon, hopefully sometime this Spring,” Thought said. “It’s called And Then You Shoot Your Cousin. It’s conceptual; it’s another concept album in the spirit of 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.”

According to Thought, this project will revolve around an entire cast instead of on central character:

“We created some of these characters that we kind of see,” he continued. “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.”

While the album will be easily digestible, Thought promises the project that will continue to unfold over time.

“Hopefully you’ll get something new from it every time you listen to it, you’ll hone in on something different,” Thought said. “It’s short enough to do that, to take in, to digest in one sitting, so to speak. I think right now it’s at maybe 34 minutes; there may be one or two musical things added on to the record that I know is the record at this point. But I don’t think it will be any longer than 36 or 37 minutes in its entirety. So in that, it’s short enough to digest, but it’s gonna be dense. So dense that maybe in one sitting you’ll listen to it and only listen to the piano and string arrangements, and 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.”

Stay tuned for more as details emerge. Check the full article via XXL.


  • Ed Booker

    I love the Roots. Can’t wait for this to drop!

  • Desi Di Elmwood

    Usually artists are terrible at talking about their music, especially when it comes to explaining anything remotely conceptual or even original for that matter. But based on ‘Undun’ Black Thought doesn’t have this problem. ‘Undun’ feels exactly how he describes it here and the whole identity of Redford unfolds and makes total sense in ways which many other concept albums don’t. I absolutely cannot wait for this new record, thank you for this amazing gift to music!

  • A. Moore

    Yeah I love the roots and all but I’m not getting their evolution into this artsy side of hip-hop. When I tell people to go look up the roots they aren’t going to hear what I want them to hear which is the older, soulful, phat backbeat, hip-hop that I’ve grown to love.

    • websnap

      Their sound has grown up though evolution. As an artist, you can’t stay in one place, you have to give your fans something they don’t even know they want yet. The old stuff is still there till you are you are ready to make the move with them.

      Art can’t sleep, or stop to admire what it’s achieved. Like a shark – it has to keep moving forward or it dies.

    • dancesexmusichiphop

      “You have to give your fans something they don’t even know they want yet.” – that is beautiful, I never thought of it like that.

    • websnap

      wow, I appreciate that, thank you.

    • Amira Smith

      Their first album was like acid jazz. They’re always been artsy.

  • Dev DallasCowboy John

    Excited about this! In more current news DJ ?uestlove at Howard Theater tonight!

  • pb

    Been fiending for info on this album for a while (just like all of you out there, I’m sure).

    I admit that I am a concept-album geek (of sorts). I’m a bit surprised by this news, as I seem to remember ?uest saying that &TYSYC would be “regular”.

    In any case, there is a level of trust that The Roots have earned – from myself, and I dare say for many of you. Even when I don’t like what they release, I appreciate (and usually buy) the contribution.


  • jjj

    He explains it perfectly, you’ll listen to one record one day and think something of it, but when you listen to it the next day you found something else that its brilliant about it. I have trust in this album, I just hope that its back to the roots of hip hop, the cultural repetition of African popular music.

  • redford

    just wish it was longer!!! still pumped af