Delayed Roots Album Will Now Bump Skulls In October

Hip-hop band's Phrenology will follow stint on Smokin' Grooves tour.

It's been three years since the Roots released their critically acclaimed

The Roots Come Alive, but one could hardly call these guys lazy.

The Philly-based collective has busied itself by backing up Jay-Z for his

"MTV Unplugged" session; by guesting on new Talib Kweli, Mystic and Rawkus

Soundbombing projects; and by maintaining its reputation as the best

live show in hip-hop. With a dance card so packed, it's no wonder the group

was forced to delay the June release of its sixth album, Phrenology.

But at long last, the disc is done and due in October. According to Roots

drummer ?uestlove, Phrenology will be the group's "fastest,

shortest, most aggressive album" yet, with a diverse host of musical

influences from Kool G Rap to Queen to the Rolling Stones (see "Roots Look To Grow On 'Most Aggressive' Album

Yet").

According to a Roots spokesperson, the first single is slated to be "Break

You Off," featuring D'Angelo on vocals and penned by Scratch, Kamal, Ben

Kenney and Musiq. Other standout tracks include "Complexity," featuring Jill

Scott; "Pussy Galore," a tirade on the use of sexual selling power; and a

duet between Nelly Furtado and Black Thought called "Sacrifice." The Roots

aren't shaking up their conscious soul formula too drastically, however. The

album is again closed out with a poem, this time penned by Amiri Baraka.

Anxious Roots devotees may well get an early earful of Phrenology

when the group hits the road for the end-of-summer Smokin' Grooves tour with

headliners Lauryn Hill and Outkast. And even with tour dates and a new album

right around the corner, Roots members will stay with their multitasking

ways. ?uestlove is contributing his percussion skills to the upcoming

Christina Aguilera album, and the other members are developing a variety

show-style television pilot.