The Roots stay working.
There are few groups as prolific, talented, and accomplished as The Roots. While they may be steady getting that bag on Jimmy Fallon, the Black Thought & Questlove fronted group have been working on expanding their already extensive discography. With their seventeenth album End Game in the works, Questlove sat down with HipHopDX to shed some light on their insane process. And by insane, we mean insane. The mere fact that Quest & company are working on their seventeenth album boggles the mind, especially considering the near unanimous respect from their peers in the rap game.
During a sit down interview, Quest spoke about End Game, explaining the way it differentiates from their past projects, including their previous 2014 album ...And Then You Shoot Your Cousin. This time around, there's an unfortunate difference in the process. While the group has always come through with an solid work ethic, they had the guiding hand of their trusted manager Richard Nichols, who sadly passed a few years back. As Quest explains it, Nichols always made sure to reign the group in, acting as mediator to their arguments and helping to narrow down the album contenders.
“The difference between this record and [the ones] that came before it was our longtime collaborator, who’s our manager and producer, is no longer with us," explains Quest. "Usually, in that situation, [Nichols has] always been the centerpiece, the referee, between all the guys. So, this will be the first time we had to grow up and resolve our own arguments. But the one thing he was talented at was telling us to stop.”
And while peer mediation is a valuable part of making an album, the sheer volume of Roots material is simply staggering. As of now, the total song count sits at 263, which will be narrowed down to an approximate fourteen:
“Usually when we get to 100 songs, [Richard's] like, ‘Guys. You have 100 songs.' There’s 14 really good songs in these 100. Let’s stop and concentrate on the 14.’ Right now, we’re at 263. But ideas keep coming. I made the promise that by November 1, we are stopping. And we’re just going to pick a good 14. And I’m certain by then, it’ll be 400 songs.”
End Game has yet to land a release date, but if the Roots are going to have to sift through 400 cuts, we might be waiting a while.