The Roots continue to defy artistic conventions–especially the conventional modes for portraying black characters–by treating Redford Stephens, whose life is the subject of their epic poem/concept album undun, as if he was a whole person with more than two dimensions. A lot of this added depth is fleshed out not on the songs themselves, but in the marginalia of the accompanying iOS app. Exhibit C (<–C what I did there?): this next video clip from the Redford Stephens ‘documentary’, featuring insights from “Red’s Teacher,” giving us another glimpse of how the hustler persona The Roots hung their narrative on is not just a demon or a cautionary tale but a troubled human being, with other people in his life who both clashed with and cared for him. Which, when you get right down to it, is what elevates undun from ‘rap album’ to ‘Borgesian multimedia collage which will be studied in future college courses about art in the 21st century.’

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