...And Then You Shoot Your Cousin

...And Then You Shoot Your Cousin

by The RootsThe Roots




The Roots album graced by a Romare Bearden collage is less than half the length of each studio set the group released from 1995 through 2002. It might be the one that requires the most deep listening to absorb. Part of that can be attributed to the array of voices, or characters -- the widest variety of Roots guests yet. Given that, as well as the collage-like insertion of three preexisting recordings, it could be disregarded as less a Roots album than Wise Up Ghost, their Elvis Costello fling. Framed as conceptual, it's an examination of self-destructive cycles with materialism, god, and the devil all factors as much as any of the instrumentalists. In a way, it's one facet of the Roots in severely concentrated form. Black Thought, as ever, sharply portrays a man trying to make the most out of suffocating circumstances. He enters on the creeping dread of "Never," a song that also features Patty Crash in singing Talky Tina mode, with "I was born faceless in a oasis/Folks disappear here and leave no traces." On the following "When the People Cheer," he's even more penetrating and provocative, "Searchin' for physical pleasure if I don't go mental first." Those songs, along with the harder-hitting "Black Rock" and "Understand," are child's play relative to what follows. The album pivots on a jarring minute-length extract from experimental composer Michel Chion's "Requiem." Then, a chilling piano-and-strings ballad fronted by Mercedes Martinez stammers and slips into chaos. Over casually tense drums and piano, "The Dark (Trinity)" involves Black Thought, Dice Raw, and Greg Porn, who blur the line between boastful and despondent; Dice Raw's verse, where he wonders how he went from lusting after Jordans to wanting one of his "bitches" to get an abortion, is coldest of all. "The Unraveling" is a dejected shuffle -- proper support for Raheem DeVaughn's conflicting thoughts of rebirth and emptiness -- with a lullaby break. DeVaughn continues to lead on the finale, "Tomorrow," a sonically sprightly number that can be taken as sarcastic, from the whistled intro to the singer's "I'm thankful to be alive, 'cause you sleep from eleven to seven, and work hard from nine to five." When it seems like the simple and chipper rhythm is about to fade away, the piano switches course and shifts into one of the most gorgeous melodies heard on any Roots album. It crash-lands, abruptly ending an album that, depending on the amount of time spent with it, will seem either fragmentary and hollow or fathoms deep -- either a trifle or among the group's most remarkable work.

Product Details

Release Date: 05/19/2014
Label: Def Jam
UPC: 0602537828791
catalogNumber: 002075402
Rank: 155317

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Roots   Primary Artist
James Poyser   Keyboards,Group Member
Black Thought   Vocals,Group Member
?uestlove   Drums,Group Member
Tariq Trotter   Vocals
Emily Smith   Violin
Raheem DeVaughn   Vocals
Sean Lee   Violin
Mercedes Martinez   Vocals
"Tuba Gooding Jr." Bryson   Sousaphone,Group Member
PAttYCraSH   Vocals
Danny Kim   Viola
Mark Kelley   Bass,Group Member
Captain Kirk Douglas   Guitar,Group Member
Kamal Gray   Keyboards,Group Member
Frank "Knuckles" Walker   Percussion,Group Member
Metropolis Ensemble   Strings
Andrew Cyr   Conductor
Karl "Dice Raw" Jenkins   Vocals
Greg Porn   Vocals
Dane Johansen   Cello
Modesty Lycan   Vocals
Alice Yoo   Cello
Siwoo Kim   Violin
Jack Spelz   Viola
Henry Wang   Violin

Technical Credits

Mary Lou Williams   Composer
D.D. Jackson   Composer,Producer,String Arrangements
Karl Jenkins   Composer,Producer
Cornell McFadden   Composer
Jon Smeltz   Engineer
Archie Turner   Composer
George Bassman   Composer
Richard Nichols   Composer,Producer,Executive Producer,Art Direction
Kenny J. Gravillis   Art Direction
Deborah Mannis-Gardner   Sample Clearance
Tariq Trotter   Composer,Producer
Adolfo Salazar   Composer
Romare Bearden   Cover Art
Raheem DeVaughn   Composer
Montez Roberts   Engineer
Joseph Simmons   Composer,Producer
Damian Ward   Producer
Todd Russell   Art Direction
David Simpson   Composer
Paddy Chayefsky   Composer
Ray Angry   Composer,Producer
Ahmir Thompson   Producer
Andy Proctor   Package Production
Mike Jerz   Producer,Engineer
Gregory Spearman   Composer
Trapzillas (Logic Ali)   Producer
Willie Pettis   Composer
Kirk Dudley   Composer
Damion Ward   Composer,Producer
Adrian Charlie Guzman   Composer
Katrin Newman   Composer
Greggory Bradsher   Composer
Wurxs   Producer
Pat McNulty   Engineer

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