The Roots have something to say on their new single, “When The People Cheer,” the first cut from the provocatively titled new album, “…And Then You Shoot Your Cousin,” out May 13.
Opening with a gentle, tinkling piano, the song gives ways to Black Thought questioning if he”s just a douchebag as his character struggles through the day. Then another voice comes in to deliver a stinging indictment: “everybody acts as if God is all that, but I got the feeling he never coming back.”
Black Thought comes back and references Jay Z, Phil Collins and others as he talks about coming home thinking about getting together with a woman. “She keeps providing places for me to be unfaithful at,” he says of his latest conquest.
It”s an uptempo track melodically, but it is bleak lyrically: a dark, dark look into inner-city blight and hopelessness. The Roots are certainly no strangers to social commentary and they've done it more effectively on other tracks, but this one certainly hits its target.
“Cousin” will be The Roots' first album since the excellent 2011 set, “Undun.” Jimmy Fallon's “The Tonight Show” band also collaborated with Elvis Costello on 2013's “Wise Up Ghost.”
What do you think?