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The Roots Almost Done With ‘Dense’ New Concept Album

black thought, the roots, & Then You Shoot Your Cousin

Last year, the Roots revealed that their 11th studio album will bear the curious title of & Then You Shoot Your Cousin. The Philadelphia crew have been busy with a number of projects since then (teaming with Elvis Costello for the collaborative Wise Up Ghost LP, writing memoirs, becoming the house band for Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show, trying to make friends) but they’ve stayed pretty quiet about their next full-length — until now.

Black Thought recently spoke with XXL about the Roots’ proper follow-up to 2011’s undun, saying they’re “close to being done on it” and that it will “hopefully” be out in the spring. The MC explained that & Then You Shoot Your Cousin will be “another concept album in the spirit of undun,” but won’t focus on just one kind of character. “We create quite a few different characters in this record,” he said. “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.”

Thought clarified further, saying, “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.”

Regarding the record’s length and sound, Black Thought said, “It’s short enough … 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 onto the record.” He did say it would be “dense.”

So dense,” Black Thought said, “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.”

As mentioned earlier, an exact release date for & Then You Shoot Your Cousin hasn’t been announced, but when the album comes, it’ll come via Def Jam.