Being Jimmy Fallon’s house band certainly hasn’t left the Roots creatively fallow. Over two remarkable decades, Philly’s finest have crafted 10 good-to-great
albums on the foundations of tight live instruments and sonically coherent sensibilities
marks their ascension into the realm of the artful
. Tracing the death of the fictional young gangster Redford Stephens, Black Thought is our lyrical Tiresias guiding us through a piano-dominated wasteland. The Roots paint no pretense of hope in these abject streets; undun
’s shuffling funereal beats, crispy drum-pocked bullet sprays, heart-heavy raps, and a gorgeous orchestral coda affirm a goodness of intention in the face of it. undun
is theatrical, bold, poetic---the album of the year.