The Roots thirteenth record undun will see the light of day in less than a month, and with the release of “Tip the Scale,” we’re starting to learn a little bit of the album’s backstory.
In the intro to the song’s languid, black-and-white slo-mo video, released today, the band shed some light on the record’s defining concept – the story of a kid in the early ‘90s who turns to crime. In The Roots' own words:
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.
“Tip the Scale” is the kind of excellent toe-tapping orchestral R&B you expect from the group, complete with deft, socially conscious rhymes that keep time over a chorus of pianos and strings. It’s altogether too short – both the song and the video end on a cliffhanger that’ll leave you hoping for more.
The Roots - "Tip the Scale"
undun is out December 6.