The Roots Hope To Turn ‘Undun’ Into a Play or Movie
The Roots' new LP 'Undun' is a stirring hip-hop opus as it narrates the story of a young man's fateful journey into a life of crime. Black Thought's descriptive storytelling and the group's comprehensive music holds the project effectively together. The Philadelphia band hopes to possibly expand the album's story line into different mediums.
"It's definitely a set-up for there to be something cinematic or theatrical," BlackThought (aka Tariq Trotter) tells Billboard. "It could be a play or a full-length feature or a short or an iPad app that's more involved than the one that accompanies this record. The idea that those possibilities exist are why we approached ['Undun'] that way; we want there to be an option for the music to be able to live on if we choose to take it there."
Rapper Thought felt it was time to present a different take on the standard rap album by creating a concept project like 'Undun.' He believes that people can relate to the story of a young man lost in the gritty streets of the 'hood. "It just felt like it's time to do something of a little more substance at this point in our career," he says. "Even though it's a fictitious character, it's very real. It's documenting something that we're very, very familiar with -- people that we grew up with, people that we've lost to the streets or to the prison system. The moral is that this can happen to anyone, just based on circumstance."
Outside of the album, the Roots are enjoying their nighttime gig as the house band for 'Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.' However, the Illadelph band was caught in a media firestorm last month when they played Fishbone's 'Lyin' A-- B---h' as a walk-on song for Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann. Since the blowup, NBC brass now clears the songs before airtime.
Black Thought says the band has moved on from the brouhaha and regrets how the song was initially perceived. "We didn't take into full consideration the repercussions of using that particular song," he explains. "When we did consider that was what we were going to play, we were more focused on the 'lyin'' aspect than we were on the 'b---h' part. But just the use of that term, I think it conveyed a misogynistic tone that we didn't necessarily intend."