The Roots Discuss Their Upcoming Concept Album undun
In an interview with Billboard, The Roots’ Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson and Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter discussed their upcoming album, undun. A concept album that begins with the 1999 shooting death of Redford Stevens, undun is scheduled for a December 6 release and features Big K.R.I.T., Dice Raw, Phonte, and P.O.R.N. If you can recall, the character of Redford is inspired by a Sufjan Stevens song of the same title.
Both members of the band explain that undun went through multiple rewrites. ?uestlove, for the album’s first single “Make My,” saw his percussion part rejected. He said: "I worked so hard on the drums alone for a month and I presented it and they just told me, 'Thumbs down.’ And I'm like, 'What?' I instantly said, 'I quit.' I left for three weeks. I didn't show up to the studio. I went to the movies. I went out on DJ gigs. I'm telling the guys in the band, 'I'm not coming back . . . f*ck y'all.' But then I started to think, 'If [MC] Tariq ["Black Thought" Trotter] can write a verse 15 times in a row and not complain, I can do the same.'"
On the same point, Trotter mentioned: "I could actually put out an album called ‘undun’-rough draft. There were some good lyrics that we thought of and wanted to contribute to the album, but it would have strayed away from the overall topic. I submitted my lyrics to Richard Nichols, the editor and executive producer of this record, and he would manipulate my words so they would fit into the concept. It was more of a challenge to stick to the script."
In 2008, The Roots were brought on as the house band for Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, and both members agreed that this gig made them a stronger act. ?uestlove explained: "Being on ["Fallon"] has made us all better songwriters, better musicians and better producers. I believe people will hear that dedication on the new album."
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