Ranking the top artists of the past 365 days is a tricky proposition. What seemed like a simple enough question when we asked you to rate 100 top artists becomes a labyrinth of questions regarding the state of music in 2011. Is dance music really taking over the American landscape, or does hip-hop still rule the minds of music fans? Is it fair to nominate an act that didn’t release a proper record this year, when the internet has made the act of releasing albums virtually obsolete? Did some acts hustle hard for voters while others sat back and let the votes come in? …MORE
Time is flying and we’re just three weeks away from the release of The Roots next album, undun. We note the time because another video clip has come our way, this one for the song “Stomp.” The tune starts out with a bluesy guitar and distorted vocal racket more reminiscent of The White Stripes than The Roots. Until rapper Greg Porn comes in with a quick and gritty verse and you start to wonder if undun really might be ?uestlove‘s masterpiece.
The Roots have let go the second video off their next album, the concept heavy undun. “Tip The Scale” features Philly MC Dice Raw on the brief vocals, and the video by director Clifton Bell shows the minutes leading up to the shoot ‘em up horror of last Friday’s video premier, “Make My.”
It looks like The Roots decided not to wait until the Nov. 1 release date to unveil the first single from their 13th album, Undun. No sooner was the single announced, along with ?uestlove‘s explanation of their concept album than Okayplayer posted up “Make My” ft. Big K.R.I.T.
The album is loosely based on “an existential re-telling of the short life of one Redford Stephens (1974-1999)” and at first listen, “Make My” seems to follow the melancholy subject matter.
Last week it was announced that The Roots would be releasing their lucky 13th album, Undun, in December via Def Jam. Little was revealed about the record other than that it would be a “concept album.” Now, bandleader ?uestlove has revealed the topic of the record, the life of Redford Stevens, a man who died at the age of 25 in 1999. According to Questo:
“At this point in our career we’d like for our work to have a unifying theme, and an experiential quality,” says Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson, 40. “We’ve been intentionally making our albums shorter in length so that they can be experienced as a continuous work. The music is band-oriented with an eye on the moody cinematic. As a DJ, I am the King of playlists, but I don’t want our albums to feel like a playlist or a mixtape for that matter. We want to tell stories that work within the album format and we want the stories to be nuanced and useful to people. undun is the story of this kid who becomes criminal, but he wasn’t born criminal. He’s not the nouveau exotic primitive bug-eyed gunrunner like Tupac’s character Bishop in Juice… he’s actually thoughtful and is neither victim nor hero. Just some kid who begins to order his world in a way that makes the most sense to him at a given moment… At the end of the day… isn’t that what we all do?”
The group also announced that the first single from Undun will be “Make My,” which features Big K.R.I.T. The single drops Nov. 1. Check the full tracklist for Undun after the jump.