Redford Stephens, the protagonist of undun.
The concept-album is the latest offering from the Roots.
"I did it all for the money, Lord" raps guest Big K.R.I.T. on "Make My," a somber song on what might be one of the most sullen rap albums in history. With their latest offering, undun, The Roots have dropped another gem, a concept-album about the travails and travels of stick-up kid Redford Stephens. "Make My" cuts to the core of Redford's struggle to survive.
With an electronic ripple and lilting keyboard, Mississippi-native Big K.R.I.T. enters the scene capturing this mentality masterfully in his verse, spotlighting the problems that come with more money. "Well in the world of night terrors it's hard to dream, they hollerin' cash rules everything, just call it cream. Cause when it rises to the top you get the finer things." Here K.R.I.T. gracefully lifts from the immortal "C.R.E.A.M" by the Wu-Tang Clan. In this song, cream is no longer a blessing, but a curse and K.R.I.T. would just as soon "give it all for peace of mind." K.R.I.T. pinpoints a situation far too many find themselves in, where "everything that wasn't for me I had to chase." Time and time again on this record, Redford goes after what "'isn't for him," because he wants a better life than the one that he's got. As we see from the paranoia demonstrated in K.R.I.T.'s verse though, this isn't such a good thing.
"Sleep" ft. Aaron Livingston undun
The first official song off of undun.
This track sees Redford reflecting on the end of his troubled life
Lead MC Black Thought continues the paranoia of Redford in the second verse, showing us how little this all amounts to. "Tryin' to control the fits of panic, unwritten and unraveled, it's the dead man's pedantic." Despite all of Redford's struggling to make it, he'll soon be forgotten when he fades away, becoming another statistic. To escape this sorry state Redford contemplates suicide, pondering about what to put on that "blank canvas." In the final line, Black Thought through Redford relates back to us, "if there's a heaven I can't find a stairway." No matter what he does, Redford is trapped and has little control over what happens in this world or the next, with suicide standing as the only way he can get a grip on life.
"Make My" ft. Big K.R.I.T. & Dice Raw (shortened track)
This is all very glum material from the Roots, but it's not without purpose. Far too many people in cities throughout this country and the world see this situation play out every day. Arguably no other hip-hop album has payed this much attention to that plight this year than undun. In Redford's world (The real world,) right and wrong aren't absolutes, but opinions, walking hand-in-hand with one another.
"Make My" ft. Big K.R.I.T. & Dice Raw (full track)