The Roots are set to release a new studio album, ‘undun’, December 6th on the Island Def Jam label. The album marks the first conceptually-based album from The Roots and quickly reaffirms the creativity of the outfit that are notorious for pushing the envelope.
First single “Make My” features Big K.I.R.T. and s set for release November 1st on iTunes. The band is also expected to perform in New York City on November 29th and 30th and December 5th at the Highline Ballroom.
‘undun’ is described as an existential re-telling of the short life of one Redford Stephens (1974-1999). Through the use of emotives and Redford’s internal dialogues the album seeks to illustrate the intersection of free will and prescribed destiny as it plays out ‘on the corner’.
Utilizing a reverse narrative arc, the album begins as the listener finds Redford disoriented–postmortem–and attempting to make sense of his former life. As he moves through its pivotal moments he begins to deconstruct all that has led to his (and our own) coming undun.
In a press release, Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson stated: “At this point in our career we’d like for our work to have a unifying theme, and an experiential quality. We’ve been intentionally making our albums shorter in length so that they can be experienced as a continuous work. The music is band-oriented with an eye on the moody cinematic. As a DJ, I am the King of playlists, but I don’t want our albums to feel like a playlist or a mixtape for that matter. We want to tell stories that work within the album format and we want the stories to be nuanced and useful to people. undun is the story of this kid who becomes criminal, but he wasn’t born criminal. He’s not the nouveau exotic primitive bug-eyed gunrunner like Tupac’s character Bishop in “Juice”… he’s actually thoughtful and is neither victim nor hero. Just some kid who begins to order his world in a way that makes the most sense to him at a given moment… At the end of the day… isn’t that what we all do?”
Formed in 1987, in Philadelphia, PA, the Roots Crew consists of Black Thought (MC), Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson (drums), Kamal Gray (electronic keyboards), F. Knuckles (percussion), Captain Kirk Doublas (electronic guitar), Damon Bryson (sousaphone) and James Poyser (electronic keyboard).
The Roots have become one of the best known and most respected hip-hop acts in the business, winning four GRAMMYs, most recently for Best R&B Album for ‘Wake Up!,’ Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for “Hang in There” (with John Legend) and Best Group or Duo R&B Vocal Performance for ‘Shine.’
Additionally, The Roots have also become the faces of Philly’s Fourth of July Jam, an annual concert held during the Fourth of July with the biggest names in music, and The Roots Jam Session, a yearly star-studded mix of musicians, that has become a celebrated institution during awards season.
In 2009, The Roots, named one of the greatest live bands around by both Spin and Rolling Stone, became the official house band on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon where they currently perform every Monday- Friday.Note the date on this article may be incorrect due to importing it from our old system.