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Watch the 5-Song Roots ‘undun’ Short Film

New black-and-white video sets a story to snippets of 'Undun' songs

picture-18576-1373300776Marc Hogan // December 14, 2011

The Roots’ undun has a complex narrative about a low-level drug dealer named Redford Stephens that, as our reviewer notes, is often obscured by the glut of guest rappers. But this nine-minute video tells Stephens’ sad story in its clearest form, setting elegant black-and-white visuals to snippets of various undun cuts: the understated groove of “Tip the Scale,” the aptly titled crunch of “Stomp,” the elegaic soul-pop of “Sleep,” and, over the closing credits, the piano-splashed, FDR-paraphrasing uplift of “One Time.”

In a series of four instances from 1990 to 1999, we see the young man go from just another kid in a rough neighborhood to a criminal, and then, after he encounters some real trouble, we’re left to contemplate his inevitable fate. Lofty quotes from Malcolm X and others lend a slightly self-serious tone to the whole affair, but overall it’s an ambitious new look at an ambitious record (via Nah Right).