The Roots' long-in-the-works debut for Def Jam, "Game Theory," will be released Aug. 29. Group members ?uestlove and Black Thought were joined by Def Jam chairman Jay-Z at a media playback of the set

The Roots' long-in-the-works debut for Def Jam, "Game Theory," will be released Aug. 29. Group members ?uestlove and Black Thought were joined by Def Jam chairman Jay-Z at a media playback of the set last night (June 15) in New York.

"In a lot of places Jay-Z is considered God, Philly, our hometown being one of them," Black Thought said. "So if you're rolling with Jesus, you got one up on somebody that's not a disciple. When people see that we're signed to Def Jam, the perception has changed. That holds a lot more weight on a street level than [former label] Geffen Records does."

?uestlove described the group's eighth album as a bit darker than previous efforts, but noted, "Sometimes darker is better, in my opinion."

Among the highlights of "Game Theory" are the J-Dilla tribute "Can't Stop," incorporated interviews and memorial wishes from the recently deceased producer's friends. Elsewhere, the boom-bap drum pattern of first single "It Don't Feel Right" sets the tone for most of the album's production.

"False Media" featuring poet Wadud Ahmad showcased strong drums over Black Thought's thoughtful lyrics, while "Longtime" finds Roc-A-Fella Philly favorite Peedi Peedi aka Peedi Crack trading verses with Thought. The album also features three songs with former Root rapper Malik B, who hasn't been a full-time member since the mid-1990s.

As for upcoming videos, "It Don't Feel Right" will be the first from "Game Theory," blending additional songs "Here I Come" and "In the Music." The Roots plan to tour in support of the album until May 2007.

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