The Roots are usually thought of as the house band of The Tonight Show featuring Jimmy Fallon, but they take centre stage on their new album ... And Then You Shoot Your Cousin. The title might seem violent, but the band exudes a jazzy vibe with the rawness of underground hip hop.
Their last album, Undun, had more of an R&B vibe, but the group has completely revamped their sound. This new release showcases a broad skill set that touches on jazz, hip hop, and neo-soul, with even a tinge of electro thrown into the mix.
The album starts off strong with a hypnotic sample of the great Nina Simone, then kicks into Never, featuring Black Thought's amazing mic skills as he raps about violence in the inner city.
The album is strewn with diverse elements, leaping seamlessly from the sounds of a scratchy old movie to rapping over the smoothest beats. It showcases a breadth of skills, and demonstrates the band's keen ear for an interesting sounding hook.
Sometimes slow and throbbing and other times perky and upbeat, The Roots maintain a moody emotional landscape throughout the album.