The Roots.

Cover: Undun

Undun 2011

undun is an existential re-telling of the short life of one Redford Stephens (1974-1999). Through the use of emotives and Redford’s internal dialogues the album seeks to illustrate the intersection of free will and prescribed destiny as it plays out ‘on the corner’. Utilizing a reverse narrative arc, the album begins as the listener finds Redford disoriented–postmortem–and attempting to make sense of his former life. As he moves through its pivotal moments he begins to deconstruct all that has led to his (and our own) coming undun.

“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?”

  Name Artist Time Buy
1 Dun The Roots 1:16 Amazon.com  iTunes
2 Sleep The Roots 2:15 Amazon.com  iTunes
3 Make My The Roots (feat. Big K.R.I.T. & Dice Raw) 4:27 Amazon.com  iTunes
4 One Time The Roots (feat. Phonte & Dice Raw) 3:55 Amazon.com  iTunes
5 Kool On The Roots (feat. Greg Porn & Truck North) 3:48 Amazon.com  iTunes
6 The OtherSide The Roots (feat. Bilal Oliver & Greg Porn) 4:03 Amazon.com  iTunes
7 Stomp The Roots (feat. Greg Porn) 2:23 Amazon.com  iTunes
8 Lighthouse The Roots (feat. Dice Raw) 3:43 Amazon.com  iTunes
9 I Remember The Roots 3:14 Amazon.com  iTunes
10 Tip the Scale The Roots (feat. Dice Raw) 4:17 Amazon.com  iTunes
11 Redford (For Yia-Yia & Pappou) Sufjan Stevens 1:51 Amazon.com  iTunes
12 Possibility (2nd Movement) The Roots 0:55 Amazon.com  iTunes
13 Will to Power (3rd Movement) The Roots 1:03 Amazon.com  iTunes
14 Finality (4th Movement) The Roots 1:31 Amazon.com  iTunes
Cover: Wake Up!

Wake Up! 2010

John Legend & John Legend & The Roots’ fiery new offering Wake Up! features soulful music from the 60s and 70s, all with underlying themes of awareness, engagement and consciousness. Inspired by the historic presidential election campaign of 2008, Legend and John Legend & The Roots felt a need to enter the action.

The eleven profoundly evocative reinterpretations are highlighted by “Wake Up Everybody” featuring Melanie Fiona and Common, “Wholly Holy” by Marvin Gaye, and “Little Ghetto Boy” by Donny Hathaway. The album also includes more obscure selections like Baby Huey and the Babysitters’ “Hard Times” and “Hang on in There” by Mike James Kirkland, in addition to Legend’s original composition, “Shine.” Wake Up! blends Legend’s expressive, thoughtful vocal interpretations with an element of funk that only The Legendary Roots Crew can provide.

  Name Artist Time Buy
1 John Legend & The Roots feat. Black Thought 5:16 Amazon.com  iTunes
2 John Legend & The Roots 6:26 Amazon.com  iTunes
3 John Legend & The Roots feat. Common & Melanie Fiona 4:24 Amazon.com  iTunes
4 John Legend & The Roots feat. CL Smooth 3:15 Amazon.com  iTunes
5 John Legend & The Roots feat. Malik Yusef 1:58 Amazon.com  iTunes
6 John Legend & The Roots feat. Black Thought 5:26 Amazon.com  iTunes
7 John Legend & The Roots 7:15 Amazon.com  iTunes
8 John Legend & The Roots 3:49 Amazon.com  iTunes
9 John Legend & The Roots 5:50 Amazon.com  iTunes
10 John Legend & The Roots 11:43 Amazon.com  iTunes
11 John Legend & The Roots 2:42 Amazon.com  iTunes
12 John Legend & The Roots 4:43 Amazon.com  iTunes
Cover: How I Got Over

How I Got Over 2010

To call it “long-awaited” or “eagerly anticipated” would be the understatement of the year, as hip-hop’s most daring pioneers John Legend & The Roots release their ninth studio album (and third for Def Jam Recordings), HOW I GOT OVER, on June 22. The album, which takes its name from Clara Ward’s gospel classic (made popular by Mahalia Jackson), is John Legend & The Roots’ first new release since joining Late Night with Jimmy Fallon for a full time gig as the show’s house band.

Grammy Award winners John Legend & The Roots characterize the songs on HOW I GOT OVER as “depicting the everyman’s search for hope in this dispiriting post-hope zeitgeist.”

  Name Artist Time Buy
1 John Legend & The Roots feat. Amber Coffman, Angel Deradoorian, Haley Dekle 1:50 Amazon.com  iTunes
2 John Legend & The Roots feat. Truck North, P.O.R.N., Dice Raw 3:55 Amazon.com  iTunes
3 John Legend & The Roots feat. Monsters of Folk 3:52 Amazon.com  iTunes
4 John Legend & The Roots feat. Blue, P.O.R.N., Dice Raw 4:16 Amazon.com  iTunes
5 John Legend & The Roots feat. Phonte, Dice Raw 4:34 Amazon.com  iTunes
6 John Legend & The Roots feat. Dice Raw 3:36 Amazon.com  iTunes
7 John Legend & The Roots 0:42 Amazon.com  iTunes
8 John Legend & The Roots feat. Blue, Phonte, Patty Crash 3:44 Amazon.com  iTunes
9 John Legend & The Roots feat. Joanna Newsom, STS 3:36 Amazon.com  iTunes
10 John Legend & The Roots 2:24 Amazon.com  iTunes
11 John Legend & The Roots feat. John Legend 3:41 Amazon.com  iTunes
12 John Legend & The Roots 0:40 Amazon.com  iTunes
13 John Legend & The Roots feat. Peedi Peedi, Truck North 2:46 Amazon.com  iTunes
14 John Legend & The Roots feat. STS 2:56 Amazon.com  iTunes

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