The Roots – & then you shoot your cousin
1) Theme from the middle of the night – Is a strange and off-putting intro to this body of work. Reminds me a bit of Sam Cooke.
2) Never featuring Party Crash– has a slow and disconnected feel relative to edm music until about half way in. We get a crushing blow of a verse from front man Black Thought. It’s a song of exercise that only the roots could pull off.
3) When the people cheer featuring Greg Porn- Is what we have come to expect musically from the Philadelphia group. The verses are from the perspective of a loser in society. This characters they show are very similar to the stress of the lower economic times we face today. The title is self-contradictory and a inside joke of lifes ups and downs.
4) The Devil – Is a brief interlude of a track that serves as another chapter of where the Roots are headed. It has a point but felt out of place of the build up of people’s cheer.
5) Black Rock featuring Dice Raw- Is a great track with an off center beat. Reminds me of how far they have come as a group both with interesting ways of approaching new song structures.
6) Understand featuring Dice Raw and Greg Porn – The question of redemption comes into play with this track. Black thought really goes in on this one and Greg Porn kills it in his own right. It’s an engaging track that questions both the morality in religion and the temptations of American culture.
7) Dies Irae- Another brief and somewhat off putting interlude that sounds like a Madlib track going through a blender. Wikipedia translates Dies Irae as a Medieval Latin poem that deals with the last days of judgment. This makes sense with the theme of the sound and some of the bleaker topics discussed in the songs before.
8) The Coming featuring Mercedes Martinez –sounds very similar to the people cheer track with its intro piano parts but then veers into an almost operatic territory with its heavy stabs and loud cords. I am thinking that the song mentioned before was an intro to the actuality of judgments sound on display here.
9) The Dark Trinity featuring Dice Raw and Greg Porn – Questlove in the pocket drumming lays the backbone for each emcee to speak on their characters traits but we have seen this already in prior tracks of the Lp.
10) The Unraveling featuring Raheem DeVaughn- Is really more of the same a storyline of a man with no future and a couple of bars from thought.
11) Tomorrow featuring Raheem DeVaughn- Is the most soulful and happy song on the LP. It’s an ending statement that through all the hardships there is always a brighter side but its kind of redundant and typical.
In Conclusion- What can I really say about this LP? Well let me start with this I have been a Roots fan for about fifteen years solid. As a fan I saw them go from underground staples to breakout commercial popularity to quasi rock band to becoming J Dilla mourners to become what they are now. What are they now you ask.They are creators of not just music but audio playwrights? Cousin does not suffer from creativity or musicianship but focus. Where their last LP Undun felt just right this feels very scattered and disjointed unfortunately. The other problem is that its too short making the project well feel very unfinished and rushed. Some may not agree with these statements and that’s ok but I ask you listen to the complete body of work. This is the shortest LP they ever released and I fell had they exempted the intro and the two other interlude tracks this would have made a fine EP but as a LP I’m unsatisfied.
5 out of a 10
Best tracks are Never, When the people cheer and Blackrock
Reviewed by Byrdflew https://twitter.com/molarcannons