The Roots‘ newest LP, “Undun”, is to be considered an album worth listening to. Its contains elements of jazz, rap, hip-hop, as well as just some simply sweet beats that fans of any genre would be challenged to dislike. Each song does offer the listener something, the only problem is that after a while the songs all tend to sound very similar. The album is superior when listened to through individual tracks separated in time, but if you listen to the LP all the way through, it becomes hard to tell the difference between songs.
The opening track, “Make My,” has an unstoppable beat. This, combined with its jazzy influence and smart lyrics, makes it one of the better songs on the album. The three tracks after it, however, just aren’t unique.
“Stomp” reminds one of a heavy, hip-hop version of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall.” It has a strong meaning, strong lead guitar, and includes background riot vocals. This track stands out from the other unnoticeable tunes.
“Tip the Scale” is another track that reigns supreme. However, it sounds too much like something Citizen Cope would do. In fact, it sounds extremely similar to “Sideways.” And while there is nothing inherently negative in a song sounding like another, especially if you respect the other song, there is a boundary-line that the Roots seem to slightly cross to their own detriment.
The last two songs on the album, “Possibility” and “Will to Power” are both unusual, instrumental, orchestral tracks, showing The Roots’ will to experiment. They are more unique, and reveal the true talent capabilities of The Roots. They are a surprisingly great ending to the album, leaving a pleasant taste in your mouth. These songs seem to communicate what The Roots were going after in this album the best.
“Undun” is not a masterpiece, but it is still an experimental album that anyone who likes unique hip-hop will enjoy, and anyone who doesn’t should listen to regardless – because even if it’s not their best work, it’s still The Roots, and they are still a boat load of musical talent.
By Page Kelley
Words that describe this album: Experimental, hip-hop, jazzy
Rating: 7.0 of 10