Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Roots: undun

Posted By on Tue, Dec 6, 2011 at 6:07 PM


Never let it be said that the Roots are sellouts. The jazz-funk-soul-hoppers work graveyard as Jimmy Fallon’s house band, but one can forgive their dalliance with late-night comedy, since they have been resilient in keeping their distance from the Hollywood overclass. While last year’s How I Got Over was more inviting than the 2008 doomsday lament Rising Down, undun is a game changer: as warm as Illadelph Halflife and esoteric as Game Theory. On fetching promo single “Make My,” Questlove and co. disarm their menacing percussion ticks with earthy lava-lamp funk worthy of J Dilla. “Kool On” marinates its vocal sample in bottleneck guitar grease, while Bilal enlivens “The Other Side” with furious gospel. Black Thought’s verse on “Lighthouse” is so good it redeems the sketchy sailing metaphor. After cocktailing with elites for the past several years, Thought sounds awakened to real-life problems brewing nowhere near Rockefeller Plaza. (Def Jam)

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