Metascore
70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26
  1. There's no real logical conclusion as to what it all means, and The Roots understand that. That's part of why they made the album so short; so that you can put the time in and come to a conclusion yourself.
  2. Jul 8, 2014
    80
    [A] sturdy, panoramic critique of modern rap mores. [Aug 2014, p.92]
  3. 80
    And Then You Shoot Your Cousin is as brilliantly strong as Undun, with a multi-faceted story that slowly unravels.
  4. May 22, 2014
    80
    On And Then You Shoot Your Cousin, the Roots serve up a concept album of tortured stories from a collection of downtrodden and conflicted characters.
  5. May 20, 2014
    80
    It’s a headier album, but one rife with significance.
  6. May 20, 2014
    80
    The Roots have not only proven once again that they are one of hip-hop’s most consistent acts, but also one of the genre’s most important.
  7. May 20, 2014
    80
    While the album showcases the band's equilibrium and by now unquestioned versatility, it does mean that amidst the intended dissonance and vocal cameos, Black Thought's verses are not as prominent.
  8. May 20, 2014
    80
    ...And Then You Shoot Your Cousin is a trim 35 minutes in length, with 11 tracks and eight proper songs, zooming through its disjointed structure without much padding. This slimness functions as a counterweight to the often stifling subject matter, as the group employs its soul-influenced backdrops in a way that feels totally opposed to what most modern hip-hop is doing.
  9. May 19, 2014
    80
    It’s a curious turn, but one that finds them as oddly whimsical and satisfying as ever.
  10. Jun 10, 2014
    75
    The production is ultimately enough of a spoonful of sugar to make it easy to swallow.
  11. May 23, 2014
    72
    Black Thought remains a spectacular rapper, decades into a career with plenty of invitations to burn out. He hasn't slackened an inch. His flow patterns on "Understand" hit like flurries of jabs to the sternum. The problem for listeners, of course, remains that he never quite knows how to stop dancing on his toes; he always sounds like he's high-stepping through a tire-field.
  12. 70
    Not all of it sounds like a string quartet pulling itself apart, or a piano chewing up its own keys. Polished, radio friendly pop hooks snag on the acute, serrated edges of Black Thought’s gloomy verses.
  13. May 19, 2014
    70
    It crash-lands, abruptly ending an album that, depending on the amount of time spent with it, will seem either fragmentary and hollow or fathoms deep--either a trifle or among the group's most remarkable work.
  14. May 19, 2014
    70
    The band seems fueled by a moody, circa-1961 record collection, recontextualizing life before funk.
  15. May 20, 2014
    67
    With their 11th effort, The Roots have managed yet another album individualistic like little else in hip-hop, but unlike their best work this one’s more interested in scholastic provocation than genuine pathos.
  16. May 28, 2014
    66
    It’s still a strong album with several standout moments, but these great moments are often hampered by the inchoate themes and parched ideas surrounding it, making the album feel at times unfinished.
  17. Jul 8, 2014
    60
    It's chillingly powerful, but the band sell short their cinematic ambitions with just 33 minutes of music. [Aug 2014, p.102]
  18. Jun 6, 2014
    60
    Even though …and then you shoot your cousin never quite betrays its allegiance to either criticism or satire and is consequently an awkward, variable amalgam of both, it offers something important in its efficacy to disrupt that logic and pave out a new line of progression for a mature act.
  19. May 22, 2014
    60
    The half-hour run time makes the relentlessly cerebral approach more palatable, though the ending feels a bit too tidy.
  20. May 20, 2014
    60
    Songs sag and soar at once.
  21. They raise issues only to question them, a point driven home by the askew music. It doesn’t make for the most direct, or exciting, of sounds. But by embracing hip hop and also standing outside it, the album lends the genre a perspective it could use.
  22. 58
    Despite the record’s production, some of the group’s most ambitious to date, it feels incomplete, seemingly ending five or six songs early. It’s a grower, yes, but there’s too much to unpack for it to sound vital to modern hip-hop’s equilibrium.
  23. Jul 21, 2014
    50
    The finished product proves too studied and reverent of its sources. [Jul 2014, p.64]
  24. Jun 20, 2014
    50
    It’s just the Roots resting on the laurels. I think they may need another movement.
  25. May 20, 2014
    50
    While the ambition and musical dexterity is admirable, the work doesn’t feel fully realized.
User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 30 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 1 out of 7
  1. May 19, 2014
    7
    I always look forward to a roots album for many reasons as clearly they are hip hop, but on their own sh*t. They have never followed a trend or the path where most hiphop is headed. This remains true with this album, but with more guest appearances and less black thought (which I didn't like). So much so that it is almost not hip hop. Further some of the songs I didn't like-including the "skits" and "interludes" that seem to slow down the album even further. After a few more listens, maybe it will hold up to their previous efforts-but now it does not. Full Review »
  2. Jun 13, 2014
    10
    Each song is a completely standalone vignette, each character is a trope of hip hop culture. Criticism of the culture have been prevalent in Roots music since Organix, but they have always been tongue-and-cheek and straight to the point about it. This is their most creative expression of their frustrations. The name of the album (a reference to a KRS-One lyric) is the perfect representation of what this album is and its spiral into darkness.

    Musically, this album is very much pushing the envelope of instrumentation in hip hop (even more-so than Phrenology). Although each song's lyrics are true to the concept of this album, the instrumentals do everything they can to break apart cohesiveness between songs. This is what turns a lot of listeners off of this album, but to me this is a brilliant way of building unique scenes for the characters to live and breathe in each song. Although told through vignettes, it has a theatrical effect similar to Opera that creates the different scenes for these characters to come alive. The ever-darkening instrumentals paired with standalone sketches creates a sense that everything is going to **** Dark, beautiful, brilliant... this will probably turn out to be one of the most under-appreciated Roots releases ever.
    Full Review »
  3. May 24, 2014
    0
    33 minutes of **** not one good song probably the worst **** i have heard this year and i thought soulja boy was bad yeah okay i think i'll delete this **** off my computer now. Full Review »