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The Roots: undun
Buy! - (Def Jam)
The Philly hip hop band’s 10th studio album is a powerful concept record that revolves around the life of one Redford Stephens, beginning with his death and then moving backwards in time through his short, violent life as a hustler. The accompanying music is suitably dark, while also expansively incorporating atmospheric indie-rock, soul, free jazz, classical and other styles on brooding, doom-laden songs driven by haunting keyboard lines and ?uestlove’s stark, downtempo drums, while also featuring mournful soul/gospel vocalists on the choruses. A couple guest rappers (Mississippi’s up-and-coming Big K.R.I.T and Little Brother’s Phonte) contribute alongside group regulars like Dice Raw, Greg Porn, Truck North and lead rapper Black Thought, who’s as smart and incisive as always here. The album ends with a brief, four-part neo-classical suite based upon Sufjan Stevens’ “Redford.” 12/9/2011 - Don Yates
Other Roots album reviews:

...and then you shoot your cousin - 5/23/2014
How I Got Over - 6/29/2010
Rising Down - 5/12/2008
Game Theory - 8/28/2006
The Tipping Point - 7/9/2004
Phrenology - 12/15/2002
Things Fall Apart - 3/15/1999
Illadelph Halflife - 9/15/1996