Personnel: Tariq Trotter (vocals); Captain Kirk Douglas (guitar); Dame "Tuba Gooding Jr." Bryson (sousaphone); Kamal Gray, James Poyser (keyboards); Ahmir Thompson (drums); Frank "Knuckles" Walker (percussion).
Recording information: A House Called Quest, Philadelphia, PA; DaCrib, Philadelphia, PA; Downtown Music Studios, New York, NY; FNL Studios, Philadelphia, PA; Grind Music Studios; MSR Studios, New York, NY; The Boom Room, Philadelphia, PA.
Just weeks after releasing their full-length collaboration with Miami soul legend Betty Wright (Betty Wright: The Movie), the Roots keep firing with Undun, their 13th studio album. While many of the group's albums have been unified sonically, Undun is cohesive from a lyrical standpoint, as it is an "existential retelling" of the life of a person named Redford Stevens, who was born in 1974 and died in 1999.
Entertainment Weekly (p.72) - "[T]he Roots have always been at their best expressing quiet desperation and spinning old-school tales of struggling upward." -- Grade: A-
Alternative Press (p.104) - "The 10-song disc documents the crime-riddled life of fictional character Redford Stephens....It's some of their best work to date."
Paste (magazine) - "UNDUN is a brilliant reminder of the power of the emcee as storyteller, the possibility of 40 minutes of music lending itself to a thoughtful character and plot."