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CD review: The Roots’ ‘… And Then You Shoot Your Cousin’

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Max Plenke

Four stars

The Roots ...And Then You Shoot Your Cousin

...And Then You Shoot Your Cousin is this year’s example of The Roots being less a hip-hop band than a group of excessively talented artists who happen to make rap music. And as they age, the desire to act lessens, and little rap fragments chip away to reveal a chasmic character wardrobe allowing them the range to be anything from wonderful composers to (you guessed it) a talk show studio band.

The big single, “When the People Cheer,” with its lonely piano melody and “Am I a douchebag or just another do-rag?” introspection, is where you arrive after putting out 11 studio albums with a prolific rock-star career at your back. The happy, rap-less “Tomorrow,” featuring a cheery piano riff and singer Raheem DeVaughn doing all the heavy lifting, is what you make when it’s clear there’s plenty more ground to break. But overall, ATYSYC shows what The Roots look like when they peel back that high-pedigree cover and show they aren’t just a great hip-hop band. They’re a great band, period.

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  • The fire-shooting grasshopper has finally found its purpose.

  • And yet they had one of the biggest crowds of the night. Go figure.

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