Album Review- The Roots- Undun

I'll say this, i like the Roots, don't necessarily love them though I have seen them in person because as a band they're just ill. Though they recently had some slight controversy on their regular gig on the Jimmy Fallon show, they still found the time to release a concept album called "Undun", and here is the album review.

So Undun overall is the story of a fictional person named Redford Stephens. While conceptually it sounds like a good idea, the bulk of what makes this a true experience has to be the companion items that are available on itunes, but musically, there is less there. Now, starting out, "Sleep" about the young Mr. Stephens realizing he is dead is a solid Roots effort. Black Thought does good to begin to create a picture of the person he is portraying. "Make My" with Big K.R.I.T. and Dice Raw is about that moment when Redford meets his end. Dice is also on "One Time" about making it and getting that lucky break I assume, at least that's what i took from it.

"Kool On" is about Redford getting money, having his shine on and the feel of him being a success. This features verses from Greg Porn and Truck North. Porn is also on "The Other Side" which is a really nice song and has Bilal on the hook. This is about that time before Redford makes it and what he plans to do when he gets there. "Stomp" is about the early violence required of and up and coming hustler. Greg Porn is also on this one. I also like "Lighthouse" probably because of the hook, where Black Thought and Dice Raw describe the life growing up with no real direction and the changes that happen.

"I Remember" is just reminiscing on those early days, people and situations, in general though, that Redford went through. Meanwhile "Tip the Scales" is about how the character is going to work and grind to move up in his life even with the risks, and it also features Dice Raw. The album ends with four musical compositions that move in the pattern of the life story of Redford, "Redford", "Possibility", "Will to Power", and "Finality" all provide a different, though much more brief manner of story-telling.

Look as far as concept albums go, this one doesn't really do it for me. It's no more of a concept than Jay-z's American Gangster album was "inspired" and not just another rehashing of the same old things. I don't ever get the personal feeling of Redford as much as the same general tale of the game. The songs are all pretty solid and fit together, but it is missing the extra panache that would take it to the next level. No little twists or just added insights.

Rating: 3/5


  1. I agree. Even though it was a concept album, it seemed very unfocused from a musical standpoint. It was missing a coherence that most of their earlier albums had.


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