"When The People Cheer" - The Roots [YouTube Official Lyric Video]

Brad Bershad

by Brad Bershad

Published May 2, 2014

The Roots have released a lyric music video for "When The People Cheer" off their upcoming 2014 album …And Then You Shoot Your Cousin due out on May 13 via Def Jam Recordings.

Like The Roots' last album, 2011's Undun (not counting their 2013 collaboration with Elvis Costello, Wise Up Ghost), the new project is a concept album with a storyline. Watch above. "When The People Cheer" is a gritty, emotional song from the perspective of two characters and features verses from Greg Porn and Black Thought. The chorus captures the essence of the tune:

I live in a trap where things load crack
Wake up in the boxes with a box of Apple Jacks
Everybody acts like God is all that
But I got the feelin’ he ain’t never coming back
So I got an angel that answer my prayer
Floating on the cloud that I blow in the air
Nobody wins but nobody cares
They just want blood when the people cheer

In an inerview with XXL, Black Thought shared some insight to the concept:

It’s called And Then You Shoot Your Cousin. It’s conceptual; it’s another concept album in the spirit of Undun, but it’s not just about just one kind of character, we create quite a few different characters in this record. It’s satire, but in that satire it’s an analysis of some of the stereotypes perpetuated in not only the hip-hop community, but in the community. I don’t know if that makes any sense.... We created some of these characters that we kind of see. We as artists, musicians, Philadelphians, New Yorkers, we as black men, we’re familiar with very many of these characters, and we kind of introduce them to the rest of the world in a manner that makes them more easily understood than maybe seeing it.

The video is beautiful, capturing elements of an industrial urban wasteland with stop motion animation and selected lyrics to drive home some of the points that are most important to the song. The entertainment industry can be a cruel and fickle mistress, whether it be in music, film, fashion, or sports. The song makes a statement on society, on both macro and micro levels.

For The Roots' latest music, news, and tour dates, check out their Zumic artist page. Pre-order ...And Then You Shoot Your Cousin on Amazon.


Black Thought The Roots
East Coast Rap Hip Hop
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