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The Roots Search for Life’s Pleasures on ‘When the People Cheer’

The Roots
Def Jam

The Roots crew look pretty satisfied with their gig on ‘The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,’ which is currently the highest-rated late night talk show. While they’re happy with performing on TV each night, the Roots are still artists at heart, so they’re working on new material.

The band’s creative pursuit continues on ‘When the People Cheer,’ which is the first single off their upcoming album ‘…And Then You Shoot Your Cousin.’

The Roots’ stable position as ‘The Tonight Show’ house band doesn’t mean they’ve shied away from experimenting. The group is still riding the alternative, slower tempo route they displayed on the ‘undun’ album.

‘When the People Cheer’ builds off a simplistic piano riff and details a story about a man who’s pursuing the physical pleasures of life while fretting about fulfillment beyond them. Not only is the song well put together, it also showcases the Roots’ growth. Black Thought’s lyrics are as detailed as ever (“Searchin’ for physical pleasure if I don’t go for the mental first / Molly poppin’, trolley hoppin’, know somebody probably watchin’”), but he’s melodic in his performance as he meshes with Questlove’s syncopated drum work.

The narrative nature of ‘When the People Cheer’ is a taste of what to expect from ‘…And Then You Shoot Your Cousin,’ which is a concept album described as an “anti-rap opera.” The new effort, which is the Roots’ 11th LP, will drop May 13.

Listen to The Roots’ ‘When the People Cheer’

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