The Roots – undun
Released: 2 December 2011
Make My (featuring Big K.R.I.T. & Dice Raw): 3.75/5 (I know a lot of people are in love with this song, but its pretty boring, in my opinion)
One Time (featuring Phonte & Dice Raw): 4.75/5
Kool On (featuring Greg Porn & Truck North): 4/5
The OtherSide (featuring Bilal & Greg Porn): 5/5
Stomp (featuring Greg Porn & Just Blaze): 4.25/5
Lighthouse (featuring Dice Raw): 4.5/5
I Remember: 4.5/5
Tip the Scale (featuring Dice Raw): 5/5
Redford (For Yia-Yia & Pappou): –
Possibility (2nd Movement): –
Will to Power (3rd Movement): 5/5
Finality (4th Movement): –
Undun shares a lot of parallels to Jay-Z’s American Gangster – such as revealing as to why criminals are forced to do what they do to using samples of other audio (or in American Gangster’s case, movies) to help tell a story. Both stories also unravel very well.
This album is telling the story of how a man is driven towards crime…the twist is, it’s telling the story BACKWARDS. The thing is, the story unravels perfectly either way you listen to it. Then you listen to the last 4 tracks (the instrumentals) and it basically tells the story through instruments. You can play those back to front and get the same story too. Hence the album name “undun” (if you flip that word around and read it backwards, it reads the same.
Undun is successful in what it does as a concept album, and the music itself is up to par with the standard The Roots have set for themselves over the years. Black Thought brings the heat on the mic, the band provides great production, and every single feature on this album, from the hookmen to the rapping features play their part well. Enough can’t be said about this album, it plays extremely well from front to back (and from back to front). Go buy it, support good artists and one of the best groups in rap history.
★★★★★: Best in show; pinnacle release from an all-time great artist.
★★★★1/2: Stellar example of genre; peak potential.
★★★★: Excellent; recommended to all fans of artist or genre.
★★★1/2: Very good; a few bland songs or minor flaws throughout.
★★★: Good; fans of the artist will find value here.
★★1/2: Average; does little to establish the artist or maintain quality.
★★: Unexceptional; a few highlights but otherwise bland.
★1/2: Weak; unrecommended for anyone but major fans of the style and/or artist.
★: Seriously flawed; very poor work but relatively listenable.
1/2: Terrible; a true embarrassment and akin to audio masochism.