2014 marks the both the 15 anniversary of one of The Roots’ seminal and beloved albums Things Fall Apart (best known for the Grammy Award single “You Got Me”) and the release of a new full-length album …And Then You Shoot Your Cousin. 

Much like undun, and their collaboration with the legendary Elvis Costello Wise Up Ghost…And Then You Shoot Your Cousin is a continuation of a band experimenting and playing with their sound and with complex, challenging themes – and doing so in a way that manages to be accessible. 

In a series of recent interviews, Black Thought has mentioned that the new album is a concept album that satirizes and analyzes the stereotypes within the hip-hop community and in the larger community. Unlike undun which focused on one the exploits of one character, the new album introduces a cast of characters based around people that the band has known throughout their lives as musicians, Philadelphians, New Yorkers and perhaps more importantly as black men. It invites thoughts on what it means to a Black man of the hip-hop generation, and more. 

“Understand” is the second and latest single off the new album starts off with a church-inspired organ and boom bap drums. Lyrically, the song asks larger questions – about the nature of god, the nature of life and death, and in some way it calls attention to man’s frailness and ignorance. In other words, the existential questions brought up in funk.

Check out the striking and seemingly surreal visuals for the official video.  

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