The Roots teamed with brewery Stella Artois to unveil "Bittersweet," a funky new song designed to harness synesthesia. "I was only thinking of color," drummer-producer Questlove told Billboard of the track, part of the beer company's "Host One to Remember" campaign. "Let's make it light here and dark there. To discover that all your senses are effective, not just one in particular like your ears or your eyes, but all of your senses, this is really right up our alley. This is how we create music."
The band created two arrangements of "Bittersweet." Side A is built on a propulsive, snaking bassline and percussion, with vocalist Black Thought tossing out beer-friendly lines like "Come and get your thirst quenched" and "It all goes down sweet to the bitter end." Side B is perked up by bright horns and a simpler, less neck-breaking bassline.
"What was super intriguing for me was the fact that this represents a meeting of the culinary world and the world of music," Black Thought told Billboard of the partnership. "Two different aspects of the arts and mediums in music and beats are coming together. The idea of senses kind of being correlated is something that I’ve always suspected and the theory was proven to us weeks ago. It's dope."
The Roots will perform both versions of "Bittersweet" later in August at Le Savoir, a "multi-sensorial dinner experience" scheduled for New York venue Skylight. Ticket information is available at Ticketmaster.
The duo also offered an update on the upcoming mixtape based on Lin-Manuel Miranda's acclaimed Broadway musical, Hamilton.
"We're in the final stages," Questlove said of the tape, which features spots from Common, Usher, Sia and Chance the Rapper. "We were brought in to produce the cast album and now the massive success of that album is leading to the original idea. Hamilton started out as an idea for a mixtape and nothing else. Then they were like, 'Let's do this play first and see what happens.' So this is the 'see what happens' part."