The Roots – When the People Cheer

blame it on Illy April 7, 2014

?uest, Black Thought, and crew reunite on “When the People Cheer,” the first single off their upcoming 13th studio album & Then You Shoot Your Cousin out May 19. Hear a radio rip below.

  • jeffreylowy

    *16th album

    • Sticky

      *10th non-collab album
      excited tho, few albums have touched undun since that came out

  • thatrealshit

    undun was incredible…high expectations for this

  • Smee

    This is Dope

  • ATK

    I feel like Roots are incapable of putting out a “Bad” album. Undun was so different from How I got over, which was so different than Rising down, then Game Theory etc….yet they were all amazing… And the fact that every album is always so different makes it that much more amazing. Like you cant get bored…..Would you have really ever expected an album like Undun? That was simply ridiculous.

    Its almost guaranteed that this will not disappoint.

  • MidKnightMaRawder

    Wow, these dude don’t make bad music.

  • biff tannen

    I feel like these guys are so overlooked and unapreciated in hip hop. Decade after decade of pushing the envelop and delivering great album after great album . One of the most consistently great bands in all of music.

    … and will someone please acknowledge Blackthought’s greatness. The man is incapable of spitting a bad verse. Top 5 MC DOA.

    • ATK

      Top 3…

      • Jesus Ernesto Alejos


  • Keep it coming The Roots

  • LB

    Not gonna lie…i need to hear better…its cool…

  • cam

    I don’t think I’ve stopped listenin ta How I Got Over since it came out!!! Huge Roots fan!!! I know this is gonna be fire like all of their other albums!!!

  • marty mcfly

    This shit aint dope man. Im not gonna front just because its The Roots and I feel like people do that all the time. Now of course people will say I must be a soulja boy fan or something but if we gonna keep it real then keep it real. To be 5 top? That means you gotta put out top 5 material. With that being said, if you look at an MC like Nas or Notorious BIG? Its a reason why people say they some of the best to ever do it and Black thought? Not so much. Is Black Thought a dope MC? YES and thats without question, dude is one of the illest rappers to ever rap but does that make him top 5? NO. Jadakiss is also dope as hell and he calls himself top 5 but just cause you got excellent bars doesn’t always mean you making the best music. Now if you like this song from the Roots then you must have thought The Fire was one of the greatest songs the Roots have ever done cause its better then this. I think people get it twisted and think that if you sound a little bit underground then that means you must be better then everybody else? NO. The Roots have a bunch of dope records but imo I feel like What They Do and You Got Me is still their most impactful songs and that was back in 1998. With that being said yeah the Roots make good music and they’ve had other successful albums and singles but I just cant act like Black Thought is up there with the greatest cause he doesn’t seem like he wants to be considered up there and his music sounds like it cause The Roots ride in the same kinda zone most times they put something out. Again on an MC level, Thought is crazy and thats why I bring up Nas in comparison. There is an argument that could be made that Black Thought shits on Nas lyrically BUT what Nas has that I feel the Roots really dont (outside of their core audience) is really impactful and memorable music. How many times have you heard a Nas song in the last 20 years and been like oh shit, that was crazy? Then you heard it in the club, in the car, in underground circles, etc… Now compare that reaction to Black Thought? Nas clearly has alot more of those moments and I feel like when The Roots drop something? Alot of times people just like ok that was cool. Now personally when I heard Adrenaline, Dont Say Nothin, Get Busy, The Fire and 75 bars (please go listen to that and compare it to this song smh), I thought all those songs were crazy but most time The Roots play it very safe and that to me isnt top 5 material. When The Roots drop records its about time they shake up Hip Hop culture instead of just the underground cafe performance crowd and imo its like sometimes The Roots make shit where its almost like they dont really want you to be excited about it. If you feel like someone is one of the best? Then that implies that when you hear their music its some of the best music you’ve heard. Now is this song really that kinda material or is it just cool? Ok then

    • marty mcfly

      Again, im not saying The Roots make bad music. Im a fan and I have bought most of thier albums but always making good music isnt really the same as always making great music. There is a space between good and great and one of the greatest.

    • Nas has made his fair share of terrible music. Biggie died before he could do so. No artists in any genre ever have put out a perfect discography where every single song made you feel like they were the greatest to ever do it.

      Black Thought is definitely top 5 of all time, just ask any MC that’s serious about his craft. He obviously has never worried about his personal achievements within the hip hop culture or else he would’ve dropped a solo project at some point to cement his legacy. Just because The Roots’ music is less accessible and doesn’t lend itself for say a club type environment, it doesn’t mean anything as far as Black Thought’s MC qualities go.

      And you only say “how many times have you heard a Nas song in the last 20 years and been like oh shit, that was crazy?” because he hasn’t put out anything that makes you react like that in a good 10 years. Nas is in my top 5 as well but he wouldn’t crack any type of best rapper list based on his musical output the last decade.

      If you take a step back and ignore the commercial impact, the underground/mainstream categorization, all of that and just look at the bars, flows, delivery and artistry I don’t know how you can honestly say Black Thought isn’t up there with the greats.

      ps. use some paragraphs if you’re going to type a full-on essay like that, you obviously put some thought into your comments (no pun intended) so you might as well.

      • marty mcfly

        Yeah but I never said he had to be perfect. You say he’s top 5 and I hear people say that alot and I get it but if Black Thought is top 5 then what the hell is Scarface, Eminem, Lil Wayne etc… Black Thought can rap great but its not like Wayne hasn’t significantly rapped his ass off as well has had commercial success. You say ignore commercial impact but if your discussing top 5 of all time then I would think commercial impact has something to do with it. I’m not one of those people simply caught up in fame but from a song writing perspective, an MC writing material that does crossover to a degree is also a skill. It doesn’t make any of the greats who’ve done it any less of an MC but imo its just as artistic as writing a bunch of bars with no song format. When I said I wouldn’t put Black Thought up there with the greats, I meant top 5. I definitely think he’s great in general and my comment had more to do with the sound of this song and me thinking to myself why does The Roots music always sound like this? They never go BIG musically. They almost always take the safe road artistically and rarely throw out some real fire thats gonna make the game stop and recognize them in a way that competes with the current state of the game. There’s really nothing wrong with what their doing in an effort to make timeless music but they’ve been making music for the 30 and up crowd for years now and I wish Black Thought would just get on some newer sounding type shit. You talk about bars and flows and what not but thats cool, shit Ghostface has flows and bars too so does that make him top 5 as well? Killa Cam got bars like a mothafucka but does that mean he’s one of the all time greats? Black Thought is one of the greats but imo he’s like a Mos Def in the way where when you hear he bout to come with some shit? You like ok shits about to go down… Then when you hear it? Its like Oh well ummm that was cool I guess. You say Nas wouldn’t crack any type of best rapper list based on his musical output in the last decade? Well in that case I dont see how Black Thought would either cause the last ten years of Nas, I think musical has been a bit better then The Roots and that even with their nice band made beats and Black Thoughts bars.

        • You have got to be kidding me, Lil Wayne of all people is who you use to try to convince me Black Thought is not top 5? Speaking of rappers who haven’t put out anything good in a decade, you have a nice list there with Wayne, Scarface and Eminem.

          Also I wasn’t saying Black Thought has just flows and bars, he has everything, he is a complete MC. Storytelling, concepts, wordplay, flows. He can write songs (not just verses), he can freestyle, he even sings well.

          And Game Theory, Rising Down, How I Got Over and Undun take a massive shit on everything Nas has put out the last 10 years EASILY.

          I’m not going to get into your jab at Mos Def because I can’t be objective about him, you’re probably right though his catalog is very underwhelming when compared to his actual talent.

          And seriously use some paragraphing, I’m all for a good discussion with someone knowledgable but it hurts my eyes to read your big blocks of text, especially when it’s crammed into a narrow column like it is on here.

          • biff tannen

            Mos Def is that dude. He just seems uninspired a lot of the time.. His Ecstatic album had some gems on it. I have a hard time being objective about him too tho. He’s in my personal top 3 all time favorite MC list. Despite the fact that as u said his catalog doesn’t reflect his true skill level.

          • marty mcfly

            You crazy. Those Roots albums you named are good and I have them all and know them all BUT they do not shit on everybody else material man. Like Not at all. In the last decade Nas put out, Streets Disciple, Hip Hop Is Dead, Nigger, Distant Relatives and Life Is Good. These albums had good music but not only that but the material had a significant impact on the game. Which is something I will get into shortly that Black Thought lacks imo.

            Now you seem to feel some kinda way about me mentioning Lil Wayne in comparison to Black Thought as to why he arguably has a better chance of being top 5? Well if you look at all the shit Wayne has done you’d understand why I could make that argument. You wanna talk about bars and flow? We can talk the mixtape era Wayne that totally dominated the underground rappers for about three years… Wayne is not in my personal top 5 BUT if Black Thought is supposed to be top then im gonna bring up some other MCs that not only have bars but make significant impact on the culture.

            You talk about Black Thought as everything as an MC? Well Wayne has demonstrated all the things that make up an MC as well, bars concepts, stories, good songs etc… Just like Nas has, Ice Cube, Common, Eminem, Raekwon, Elzhi and even newer MCs like Lupe. You say Black Thought does everything well so does Busta Rhymes, but not only that but Busta knows how to take you to the club and/or make music that people can really have a good time with. Something that Black Thought can not do or simply chooses not to do.

            In the last ten yeas T.i has dropped Urban Legend, King, T.i vs T.I.P, Paper Trail, No Mercy and Trouble Man. Now does he have bars? Yeah, concepts? Yeah, stories? Yeah, good songs? Yeah AND T.i also has another quality which is know where the game is at and releasing music that connects with the culture in a way where the game can feel it. He’s not just getting a look cause his name is T.i but when its album time his material makes a significant impact. I could take The Game’s albums and make the same argument, I could go Fat Joe and I could even go Fabolous if we count mixtape material etc… These guys have bars to but they also do what Black Thought can not or does not do commercially.

            Now you talk about Mos Def and how he’s a little underwhelming? I feel Black Thought has a better catalog then Mos but The Roots I feel stop at “good” music and rarely do they take it into great. Also they stay in the same kinda zone for the majority of their albums. There are differences here and there in sound but the stay very comfortable musically and redo the same kinda songs over and over for the most part. Where some other artists may switch it up more often.

            Now what The Roots do is cool, im not asking them to become some pop artists but Black Thought is a great MC that never steps into a commercial space musically. He’s had some good looks but this brings me back to my point about Lil Wayne, which is Wayne could do what Black Thought does musically. You give Wayne a beat from the Roots band and he’ll know what to do but Black Thought can not do what Wayne does (or Nas, Em, Busta, Lupe, Common, T.i etc…) which is not only make good music but make music that also is better then whoever is so called “the hottest” at the time. THAT was my point. I can not give Black Thought that top 5 position, not because he aint got bars but because he stays over there with the Roots and doesn’t really come out to compete with the mainstream rappers.

            Now you dont have to have commercial presence to be one of the greatest but even on an underground level, Black Thought comes across as if he just making what Questlove says is good and calling it a day. He does have bars and he does make good music but he dont just go for it musically like a Kanye does, he dont switch up the style like a Common or a Busta Rhymes does and when a Roots album drops it touches the old heads and the jazz club, poetry cafe crowd but almost completely misses the youth of hip hop culture and some of these things is what I say Black Thought does not or can not do as an artist.

          • I don’t care about impact on the game, because that depends more on the audience than the artist. Like Migos has had a bigger impact on “the game” already than say a Brother Ali will ever have, that should tell you enough about how irrelevant impact on the game really is. You can’t blame Thought for speaking to a different crowd than the teenagers that dominate pop culture. You have to understand this man has been rapping since the 80s, you can’t blame him for sticking with his forte while a couple generations have come after him and have explored new territories and have expanded the boundaries of hip hop.

            Of course there is no definitive top 5 but I really can’t take your serious when you bring up The Game, T.I. or Fabolous, they’re in the same boat as Lil Wayne to me. Like Wayne has put out some good stuff, occasionally even some great stuff. But he also has about a week worth of terribly wack material.

            The other guys you mentioned are all possible top 5 material as well with Common, Lupe and Elzhi probably cracking my personal top 5. Just because I’m saying Black Thought is top 5 it doesn’t mean any other rapper you’ll throw at me can’t be top 5.

            I guess we will never see eye to eye on this, mostly judging from the fact you consider Lil Wayne, T.I., Fabolous and The Game to be on Black Thought’s level. That’s just completely outrageous to me, but I do respect your opinion because I’m not some hip hop elitist who thinks his opinion is the only right one or anything.

            But one thing I do want to say about Black Thought is everything he has ever put out has been solid at the very least, but mostly good or a lot of times great music. I agree he has played it relatively safe compared to other rappers, but in the end to me that has a positive side to it too. While they are definitely up there with the greatest MC’s, guys like Common, Lupe, Busta and Nas have all put out their share of wack shit that are legit stains on their careers. Stuff that will make me cringe when I hear it and Black Thought doesn’t have that.

          • marty mcfly

            Again, YOU dont care about impact on the game and you dont have to think its relevant but if we talking top 5 of all time… Im not blaming Thought for not being pop, im not even saying that hip hop’s impactful records have to be pop… You could say Wayne (and other artists like him) have put out wack material cause he has b4, I never said he didnt but there is a reason why I would say Wayne has a better shot at being top 5 then Black Thought. Im not gonna explain it again but I think you know what im saying…

          • Exactly that’s why I said we will probably never see eye to eye on this. I like to base a top 5 on the actual artistry and not focus on the commercial impact too much, but I can definitely see how you would think differently because lots of people do.

          • marty mcfly

            Yeah but the artists I named do possess actual artistry though. All the stuff you say Black Thought has done, they have also done as well. The fact that someone like a Lil Wayne has alot of fame doesn’t take away the fact the dude has made some incredible music over the years. Yes he’s made songs that aint dope but The Roots have made alot of songs that are just good and rarely do they elevate to great musically. Wayne has hit great artistically alot of time over the course of his career, so the fact that he has made alot of commercial impact is the by product of his skills to a significant degree. Im not the biggest Wayne fan and he is not in my top 5 but again, in cases such as his the fame doesnt take away from his artistry cause if Wayne was asked to destroy a beat lyrically? He could and he has a thousand times over the years so the skills is proven.

    • Starks

      You lost when you classified B.I.G as one of the best to do it with his small music catalog.

  • stay_blunted_sd

    Roots are just too illadelph! Another dope album to add to the collection for sure

  • Bigsta

    Black Thought the GOAT

  • who cares

    What a wonderful song to wake up to. I’m officially excited for this album.

  • Steve

    Anybody think that he sounds like Kid Cudi here? Before you hate, I was listening to this and my sister said “I didn’t know Kid Cudi had a new song out.” At first I thought she was crazy, but then I listened to it again and I could see where she thought that (especially with this type of beat and Blackthought’s voice in the first verse). Not saying this is anywhere near “cudi”-caliber, but i could see the comparison

    • Ryan

      Black Thought had the second verse

      • Steve

        my mistake, didnt mention any features so I assumed both were by him. Voices didn’t sound drastically different enough for me to think it was two separate guys (although I should have)