As if serving as the house band on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” curating their own summer festival and performing at a recent Pre-Emmy Awards jam wasn’t enough, the Roots will return with a new album, “undun,” their first conceptual full-length, on Dec. 6. The first single, the Big K.R.I.T.-assisted “Make My,” leaked online on Monday (Oct. 17), and will hit iTunes on Nov. 1.
“undun” will use a “reverse narrative arc” to tell the story of a man named Redford Stephens, who died in 1999 at the age of 25. The Roots will analyze the death by re-telling his life story post-mortem.
“‘undun’ is the story of this kid who becomes criminal, but he wasn’t born criminal,” says drummer Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson in a press release. “He’s not the nouveau exotic primitive bug-eyed gunrunner like Tupac’s character Bishop in “Juice”… he’s actually thoughtful and is neither victim nor hero. Just some kid who begins to order his world in a way that makes the most sense to him at a given moment… At the end of the day… isn’t that what we all do?”
The Roots have also announced a few NYC tour dates to promote the album release: Nov. 29 and 30 and Dec. 5 at Highline Ballroom. “undun” follows last year’s “Wake Up!”, the Roots’ collaborative album with John Legend that used 60s and 70s covers to amplify themes of social awareness and activism.