The Roots’ 13th full-length may be an epic concept album following the rise and fall of a youth in the ‘hood, but the ambitious nature of the project hasn’t distracted the crew from their career-long mission of crafting complex, yet ear-pleasing slices of live-band hip-hop; Booth-acclaimed lead single Make My, featured in October, found the crew telling their story in the context of a track that’s eminently listenable on its lonesome, and I’m happy to say that they’ve repeated the trick with newly-leaked standout One Time. Here, ?uestlove and company set a dreamy mood with jazzy piano chords and swirling synths as frontman Black Thought spits from the perspective of a hustler struggling to understand the world around him. Bookending Trotter’s poetic yet down-to-earth bars, Little Brother alumnus Phonte and frequent Roots collaborator Dice Raw come with guest rhymes respectively hard-nosed and elegiac. Topped off with one of the most memorable hooks I’ve heard in a minute, this joint is guaranteed to leave heads even more intrigued about the tale to be told on The Roots’ new album—or have I got it twisted? Those who approve will be able to experience undun in its full glory next Tuesday, Dec. 6.
First DJ Booth Appearance:
"75 Bars (Black’s Reconstruction)" (2008)
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