…And Then You Shoot Your Cousin | Def Jam
There is still something to be said about consistency in music. Steadily producing quality art for more than 20 consecutive years is a feat that not many can achieve. The Roots are undoubtedly one of hip-hop’s most legendary bands and have been one of the few acts to accomplish consistency in the ever-changing world we live in.
The Roots decide to take on multiple concepts on the sadly brief …And Then You Shoot Your Cousin. The album is a partially satirical look at hip-hop and a social commentary on the broken minded, as well as an examination of religion and mortality.
Despite being featured nightly on national television as the house band on NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, the artistry of the Roots has not been compromised on this album. Black Thought continues doing what makes him one of the best technical rappers and Questlove’s flavour is omnipresent on the instrumental side of things.
The album is noticeably short, very dark, and only contains six true Roots songs of the 11. The additional tracks are interludes or simply songs that do not feature Black Thought and are used to further the story or confuse and scare a headphone listener.
The tracks that contain meaningful content shine through and give the fans exactly what they came for: the themes are dense, which means it takes multiple listens to figure out what’s happening with the album as a whole. The familiar voices of Dice Raw and Greg Porn, as well as stunning performances from neo-soul singer Raheem DeVaughn assist in creating the different voices for characters throughout the project.
As a result, the album is quite enjoyable and a thought-provoking display of what the mixture of consistency and artistic experimentation should sound like.