The Roots: Undun
13H48 MONDAY, 12 DECEMBER 2011


Often artists who want to be far removed from the conventions of an internally imploding culture find themselves far removed from the realities of that culture. They become isolated from the surrounds of society.  The pursuit of alternative narratives or disparate viewpoints can either lead to great artistic inspiration or a morbid sense of loss and work that is just to macabre for public consumption.

I have always loved The Roots because as a musical outfit they have consistency managed to find a first-rate balance between thick artistry and easy listening. The intricacy of their verses is marvel to the ear. And as a live outfit they add a new assortment to the musical performance genre.

So I you can only imagine my disappointment when I got my first listen of their r latest offering Undun. The album is a concept project that is supposed to be a chronicle about the life of a young man growing up. I had been expecting an album that is visual. A product that takes its cue from the tradition of credible plot coupled with rhythmic excellence. Undun is just not it. The album feels rushed as if the tracks were generated from the pretentions of a band that is still trying to find its thread in the web that is Hip-Hop.

The primary area of concern is that the outfit as a whole show little of the musical maturity that we had seen in Wake up. The album is dark and one dimensional. Tracks like On Time and Lighthouse show some signs of life but overall it is Black Thought’s overpowering that makes the album feel labored. Coherence is missing. Undun is a very transitional and middling album at best.

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  1. +
    All-The- Way-To

    Hahahahahaha I cant believe this. . .

    I beg to truelly differ. They in more than one occasion managed to portray that constant feeling of being overwhelmed by emotions that a young man feels through out their life.

    I think also the perspectives were written from a grown persons perspective. I did not in anyway feel though that the album was rushed. If you did feel this way it's possible that thats the feeling of the characters in the album felt.

  2. I think that's exactly it. The fact that it is written in hindesight makes it one dimensional. It perhaps woudl have been better to write it progressively in the first person, so we can actually see the change in the stae of mind and eventually a track that is written in hindesight. Its to safe. As a concept album it was a nice idea but the execution as I say is too safe. I am sure even to you there isn't a track on this album that is on that "classic" list

  3. There is huge base of The Roots fans on this site - I wonder what do they think of the album. Writer Chick, no?

  4. +

    Haven't heard it yet.

  5. +
    Miss Msibi

    I love this piece. so eloquently written.
    I have to listen to the album even though Sihle disliked it, simply to go through the journey that inspired this wordsmith. happiness is reading well constructed thoughts. x

  6. +

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