While fans await their Radio City Music Hall performance with Jay-Z on June 25, the Roots are ready to pay homage to another "J" with their new album 'Game Theory.' 


Producer J. Dilla (nee James Yancey) died in February from complications of lupus. Of the hundreds of unreleased songs the Dilla left behind, the Roots snagged one and re-worked it into a nine-minute tribute entitled 'Can't Stop This.' Drummer Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson says, "With the permission of his mother, I sort of turned that song into a five-part eulogy on wax, where people he's worked with in the past reflect on his life."


The man behind Janet Jackson's 'Got Til It's Gone' and Common's 'The Light,' Dilla was a musical workhorse, churning out six songs a day even as his health was failing.


"The music always came first," says Thompson. "During his last three weeks, he managed to finish his last three records. And it wasn't like, 'Oh, that's good for a guy on his last breath.' This is some of the most challenging work that he ever produced."


The album's lead single, 'Don't Feel Right,' and the political 'New World' should also allay the fears of Roots loyalists who thought signing with Def Jam might taint the group's sound. "The prime reason we got signed is the massive amount of credibility and respect that we've somehow managed to maintain for the last 14 years," Thompson says. "[Jay-Z] was very insistent on us doing the album that we wanted to do.

"We can't think, like, 'Man, we're gonna cash in. We rollin' with Jigga.' It's not that easy."


'Game Theory' hits stores August 29.