In between their busy schedule performing nightly as the house band on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” The Roots have recorded their first conceptually-based album undun, due December 6.
The project is billed as a re-telling of the short life of Redford Stephens (1974-1999). Through the use of emotives and Redford’s internal dialogues, the Grammy-winning band illustrates the intersection of free will and prescribed destiny as it plays out “on the corner.”
The first single, “Make My” featuring Big K.R.I.T., will be released to iTunes on November 1. The Roots will perform at Highline Ballroom in New York City on November 29, November 30, and December 5.
“At this point in our career we’d like for our work to have a unifying theme and an experiential quality,” said 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?”
2. Make My (feat. Big K.R.I.T.)
3. One Time
4. Kool On
5. The Jump
8. I Remember
9. Tip the Scale