THE LEGENDARY ROOTS CREW. Meet Redford Stephens, a fictional character who meets a tragic end to his life in the opening seconds of Undun. Black Thought and guests tell a poignant story of the circumstances and choices that lead to his demise over neo soul, funk, & indie-influenced production (handled mostly by QuestLove), and the record ends with a gorgeous 4-part suite, which starts with Sufjan Stevens's "Redford (For Yia-Yia & Pappou)." The central theme is heavy & troubled, and the instrumentals, layered with lush piano & other live-band elements, are perfectly tailored to capturing the mood. What's refreshing is how the narrative avoids popular rap music tropes; Stephens is in the drug game, but rather than glamorizing the lifestyle, Undun unravels a tale of a man ("...is based on a combination of maybe four to five people that we know in Philadelphia.") that meets an untimely death after going through an existential crisis. Tracks to check out: "Sleep," "Make My," "The OtherSide," and "Tip the Scale." Big K.R.I.T., Dice Raw, Phonte, Greg Porn, and Bilal make guest appearances.
- gatefold sleeve
- clear vinyl
- music label: Def Jam Recordings 2011 / 2018
reviewed by singing in japanese 07/19