Undun is the tenth studio album by American hip hop band The Roots. It was released on December 2, , by Def Jam Recordings. The album was recorded in sessions at several studios in Philadelphia and New York City. Production was handled primarily by Questlove , the band's record producer and drummer. They were joined by guest contributors, including vocalist Bilal and rappers Big K. Musically, Undun incorporates influences from neo soul and indie music.
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It's a concept record that tells the story of a man dying, in reverse. Undun is the story of a man, Redford Stevens, dying in reverse, rewinding from the moment he became a statistic and hitting the points in his life where he's at his most self-aware. That he's a criminal who got caught up in the familiar street-hustle trappings that the modern media's documented countless times is a pivotal detail-- it's hit at an angle that seems to emphasize the futile inevitability of it all. His life could be any number of misdirected narratives that ends with a toe tag, and what details listeners learn about him are hazy, buried under archetypal turns of fate and decisive struggles. That this protagonist is a fictionalized composite of a handful of real people, filtered through a matter-of-fact narrative that splits character ambivalence with journalistic impartiality, only makes his lack of direction and the failure of any real closure stand out even more. So the Roots ' latest album isn't a sprawling, rise-and-fall crime story, not a condemnation or a veneration of a man living outside the law, not a bullet-riddled grand guignol heavy on explicit details of soldiers getting cut down.