The Roots are working on their 17th album, End Game, and we're freaking out over it - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart
The Roots at The 9th Annual Roots Picnic | photo by Wendy McCardle

Allright, I’m listening.

Late last night, Philly son, music historian and percussionist extraordinaire Questlove made an Instagram post announcing that The Legendary Roots Crew has commenced work on its 17th (!!) studio album, End Game.

Who knows in what context that playful beat in the video above will end up, but I must say it’s a very pleasing set of bars to have looping in the background over here at Key HQ. Quest makes reference to the process behind 1996’s Illadelph Halflife, jamming and then sampling the jams to make the album — “20 years later we are working on our 17th album entitled #Endgame…& we startin all over again.” In that light, it sounds like this snippet sounds nicely drawn from the zone of 2006’s Game Theory, which I’d be just fine with.

But if there’s one thing you can always rely on The Roots for, it’s that they always strive to push things forward, and we’ve totally got open ears for the new sounds. The beat-maker in that video is Stro Elliott of Procussions, and as Okayplayer reports, drummer Karriem Riggins – who we last saw on Common’s amazing White House Tiny Desk Concert – has also shared word of his involvement.

Equally intriguing is the provocative title — End Game. What are you saying with that, dudes? Is this it? Does the three-decade ride end when the record drops? Or is this just the end of the latest chapter? The Roots have always been masters of titular mystique, naming their albums with phrases that appear very pointed and specific to their time and place in the world, but at the same time pose a lot of questions. For their part, Okayplayer is giving no clues.

No word on when we can expect the album to drop, but it seems something’s on the way and it’ll surely be worth the wait. In the meantime, you can always catch the crew on The Tonight Show or Questlove at any of his other 30 jobs.

Read more here, and watch The Roots perform with Usher at this past summer’s Roots Picnic below.

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