Published Nov 10, 2011We already learned that the Roots' new album was called Undun and that it would be a concept album about a kid becoming a criminal. Well, here's something we didn't know about the veteran hip-hop crew's latest LP: it was inspired by Canadian rockers the Guess Who, plus the Sufjan Stevens song "Redford (for Yia-Yia & Pappou)." What's more, Sufjan actually appears on the album.
Pitchfork points to an interview that drummer Questlove did with Spin, in which the band spokesman explained that while the album is named after the Guess Who track "Undun," "We named the character after the Sufjan Stevens song 'Redford' from his Michigan record."
He went on to say that the record includes an epic cover of "Redford (for Yia-Yia & Pappou)," which is split into four separate movements. It begins with "Sufjan at the piano performing it" before shifting into a string quartet version. Next is an interpretation by Questlove and avant-garde pianist D.D. Jackson, and the finale is "is essentially the beginning of the story."
Other guest stars on Undun include Big K.R.I.T., P.O.R.N., Phonte and Dice Raw.
As for the narrative about the fictional character of Redford Stephens, Questlove said that he's "like Avon Barksdale from The Wire. He's a good guy who could have just gone to college and been a great engineer or something. But he makes a bad decision and pays for it." He also admitted that "Undun is probably as good as it's going to get for the Roots."
See the album tracklist below.
Undun is out on December 6 via Def Jam.
1. "The Un"
3. "Make My" (ft. Big K.R.I.T.)
4. "One Time" (ft. Phonte & Dice Raw)
5. "Kool On" (ft. P.O.R.N.)
6. "The Other Side"
7. "Stomp" (ft. P.O.R.N.)
9. "I Remember"
10. "Tip the Scale"
11. "Redford (for Yia Yia & Pappou)"
13. "Will to Power"