[RH Review] The Roots: undun
The story of troubled youth in an inner-city ghetto is a theme wholly synonymous with Hip Hop. The Roots themselves have explored the topic many times before, however undun takes it to another level. The concept album details the life of a hustler dubbed Redford Stephens, as he spirals into the depths of crime and sin, truly becoming undun. Sonically the album moves seamlessly between genres. “Kool On” is upbeat and catchy, reflecting Stephens’ views of the glamour involved in his deadly trade. Black Thought summarizes the sentiment well, rhyming that “my reputation proceeds me like a pedigree, gentlemanly gangster steez.” An appeal is either an explanation or excuse for the protagonist’s poor choices. Darker themes are imbued in the production of “Stomp,” which speaks on the grimy side of Reford’s lifestyle and his perpetration of crime. The steady thump of the drum, like the pacing of a march, speak to monotony and repetitive nature of his crimes [See video below]. The second track, “Sleep”, which recants Redfords death, leaves you with the haunting lyrics “I’ve lost a lot of sleep to dreams” itching at the back of your skull. The line is an embodiment of the album’s theme and a testament to how painful and tumultuous the fall into darkness can be.
The Roots “undun” short film