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iTunes Review

Undun starts with the sound of a heart monitor flatlining before working backward to tell the troubled tale of fictional character Redford Stephens. Blending politics and the personal, this concept album details the circumstances and choices that led to a tragic end. It’s a heavy theme, but the strong and concise songs get the point across with bursts of brittle funk, hard rhythms, and slow-burning soul. The Roots’ live-band approach to hip-hop layers lush processed beats, tough guitar, soulful keyboards and bass, and the impeccable drumming of Ahmir “QuestLove” Thompson. Singer and rapper Tarik “Black Thought” Trotter is joined by regular Roots collaborators Dice Raw, Greg Porn, Phonte, and Bilal Oliver on vocals. The album’s emphasis on down- and midtempo grooves lets the words sink in, and there are some powerful lyrical moments here. Undun ends with an unexpected four-part suite, starting with Sufjan Stevens’ “Redford (For Yia-Yia and Pappou)” and moving through three instrumental passages to close on a reflective note.

Customer Reviews

"The Legendary" does it again

Fan of The Roots since day 1 (Organix). Never disappointed. Long live real Hip-Hop.


The Roots outDUN themselves on this one!

This is the epitome of HIp Hop

First of all, we all know the Roots are amazing. That hasn't changed since day 1. So naturally I had high expectations for this album and I must say, this is one of the few albums that I bought that blew me away. Leaving my expectations in the dust, this album transcends all of the watered down crap that's being put out these days and places itself in the upper echelon of hip hop albums released, ever. Who else would be so bold to tell a backwards story of a kid named Redford Stephens as he tries to figure out the steps to his downfall? There are no standout tracks on this album, because you have to BUY THE WHOLE ALBUM. It is a living, breathing thing that dies when you take out one piece. You would be missing out on the genius of the concept of the album by purchasing only one song. So, again, BUY THE WHOLE ALBUM. DO IT NOW.
Finally, thank you Black Thought and Questlove and the rest of The Legendary Roots Crew for keeping my faith in hip hop alive. BUY THIS ALBUM.


Formed: 1987 in Philadelphia, PA

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the most prolific rap groups, the Roots were also among the most progressive acts in contemporary music, from their 1993 debut through their conceptual 2010s releases. Despite the seemingly archaic practice of functioning as a rap band with several instrumentalists -- from 2007 onward, their lineup even featured a sousaphonist -- they were ceaselessly creative, whether with their own material, or through their varied assortment of collaborations. They went platinum and gold with successive...
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