The Roots will release undun, their first album since 2010’s Wake Up! collaboration with R&B singer John Legend, earlier last year. undun will come out on Island Def Jam Records on December 6 and is the first concept album from the multi-talented band that recently rose to national attention as the official house band for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. The first single, “Make My,” featuring Mississippi-based rapped Big K.R.I.T., will be released through Itunes on November 1.
“_Undun_ is an existential re-telling of the short life of one Redford Stephens,” the band states in a press release. “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.”
“At this point in our career we’d like for our work to have a unifying theme, and an experiential quality,” says drummer Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson. “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?”
The Roots will perform at New York’s Highline Ballroom on November 29 and 30, as well as December 5th. The album’s full track listing is below.
2) Make My
3) One Time
4) Kool On
5) The Jump
8) I Remember
9) Tip The Scale