In the last several years, The Roots have been busy. While the hardest working band in Hip-Hop is on television five nights a week, fans have not heard the music that they’ve been making behind the scenes. Producers, including 9th Wonder, Salaam Remi, and J. Period, have been previously attached to the sessions for an album said to be titled End Game. Questlove also stated that like Common’s recent Let Love LP, this upcoming collection will include previously-unreleased J. Dilla production. The recordings are reportedly building to a follow-up to 2014’s …And Then You Shoot Your Cousin. As of late 2017, there were more than 260 songs in the stash, according to Black Thought.
The break has lasted more than five years, marking the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native’s most extended hiatus in a nearly 30-year-career. In 2017, they emerged with “It Ain’t Fair.” Assisted by hometown affiliate and frequent collaborator Bilal, the song was part of the Detroit soundtrack. Tariq Trotter and Bilal Oliver soulfully and brutally illustrated how some social atrocities aren’t so different in 1967 as they were 50 years later. Later in ’17, the band released new joints—including a reworking of a Schoolhouse Rock classic—for the special “Juneteenth” episode of Black-ish.
In a year when they are celebrating the 20th-anniversary of Things Fall Apart, The Roots crew is back with a brand new single, as part of their Made Ready campaign to uplift and redefine what it means to be successful. The crew’s ’19 loosie is titled “Feel It (You Got It),” and is the first song in more than two years.
The song is led by steady hand claps, a triumphant brass section, and a horde of deep strings that signal drummer Questlove to keep a steady beat over. Black Thought steps up to the mic to deliver motivational bars that lift the spirit: “They’re like, don’t always show the truth, I know it hurt sometimes to hear it / Miracles happen when you don’t let nothing hurt your spirit / I been birthing lyrics since before my first appearance / The fact that I’m still here is a product of perseverance / I’m not the same as any other artist don’t compare us / I’m the loudest, the clearest, the proudest / The nearest to a track record that’s flawless / Minus the smoke and mirrors, I’m too careful to be careless / I’m out here close to fearless.” Featuring guest vocals from singer Tish Hyman, “Feel It (You Got It)” is a positive jam from the Philly band that serves as a reminder of The Roots’ talent.
The Roots’ partnership with Citizen Bank’s “Made Ready” campaign also sparked a documentary series on how The Roots came to be and details their rise to fame. The episodes are embedded below.
There’s no word yet on when The Roots are releasing End Game, which was initially announced in 2016. In 2018, Black Thought has released two projects, Streams of Thought, Vol. 1 and Streams of Thought, Vol 2 (which also featured Tish). The latter was named to AFH‘s “Best Of” list last year. Earlier this year, The Roots executive produced Hip Hop: The Songs That Shook America, which has aired on AMC.
Video interviews with Black Thought are available at AFH TV. We are currently offering free 7-day trial subscriptions. New music by Black Thought is presently available on the official Ambrosia For Heads Playlist.
#BonusBeat: The Roots’ Made Ready For Music documentary playlist: