Update: The Roots detail new album undun

Photo by Debi Del Grande

Update: Hear the album’s lead single, “Make My”, below.

As we reported last week, The Roots will release their 13th LP, and first-ever concept album, undun, on December 6th via Def Jam. Today, the late night, hip-hop super group unveiled additional album details, including the exact nature of said concept.

As it turns out, undun is being billed as an “existential retelling” of the short life of Redford Stephens. A Google search doesn’t reveal any details about Stephens, or if he even existed for that matter, but an issued press release reports that “through the use of emotives and [his] internal dialogues the album seeks to illustrate the intersection of free will and prescribed destiny as it plays out ‘on the corner’.” The press release continues: “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.”

The Roots’ drummer and de facto leader, ?uestlove, contributed this statement:

“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?”

Below, you can find the album’s 10-song tracklist. The lead single, “Make My”, which features rising MC Big K.R.I.T., hits iTunes on November 1st. Update: Okayplayer points us to an early stream of “Make My”, which you can check out below.

In support of the release, The Roots have mapped out a trio of shows at New York City’s Highline Ballroom for November 29th and 30th and December 5th. They’re also booked to play the inaugural Orlando Calling music festival on November 11th.

The Roots – “Make My” (feat. Big K.R.I.T.)

undun Tracklist:
01. Sleep
02. Make My
03. One Time
04. Kool On
05. The Jump
06. Stomp
07. Lighthouse
08. I Remember
09. Tip The Scale
10. Redford


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