Hear The Roots’ First Single Off Their Upcoming Album

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
April 8 2014 11:27 AM

Hear The Roots’ New Single, “When the People Cheer”

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Black Thought and The Roots.

Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for GQ

Three years after their last album, undun, The Roots are finally back with an emotional new single, “When the People Cheer.” Laced with a soft, effective piano line and sad, sordid verses from Black Thought and Greg Porn, the song perfectly encapsulates some of the best attributes of the hip-hop band: hard-hitting, thoughtful lyrics paired with beautiful musical arrangements.

Consumerism, celebrity, and especially misogyny—the entire second verse plays as one unflinching first-person narrative of a man obsessed with “hos” who exist solely for his pleasure—all come in to get mocked. It’s a good indicator of what’s to come on their sixteenth album, And Then You Shoot Your Cousin; Black Thought has stated that, like undun, it will be a concept album, though with several characters rather than just one:

It’s satire, but in that satire it’s an analysis of some of the stereotypes perpetuated in not only the hip-hop community, but in the community.
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Questlove has announced that the release date for the album is May 13th, and I can't wait to hear the rest of it.

Aisha Harris is a Slate staff writer.