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Don’t Let Summer Rap Beef Distract You From Black Thought’s Solo EP

During the deeply personal rap beef between Drake, Pusha T, and Kanye West over the weekend there seems to have been an oversight by We, the true school hip hop delegation.

Legendary lead vocalist from The Roots crew collective, Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter finally, after a long wait, dropped his first solo album Streams of Thought Vol. 1 and it was definitely worth the wait. To add gasoline to an already lit project, the album is also produced entirely by North Carolina’s hip-hop purist producer, 9th Wonder.

BLACK THOUGHT FREESTYLES ON FLEX | #FREESTYLE087

The legendary Black Thought freestyle at HOT 97 with Funk Flex. 10 minutes of absolute BARS. Voted #1 freestyle of 2017. HOT 97 App: http://bit.ly/HOT97APPWORLDWIDE YT SUBSCRIBE: http://bit.ly/12lN6vb http://www.hot97.com INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/hot97 FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/HOT97OFFICIAL TWITTER: https://twitter.com/HOT97

Without question, Black Thought is one of hip-hops all-time-great lyricists so it is surprising that he never released a solo project of his own. Black Thought is a product of what some now call the last great generation of lyricists from the nineties that keeps the rap landscape balanced with his emphasis on substance over hype. One need only look at Black Thought’s now infamous Funk Master Flex freestyle to understand the level of lyrical dexterity the Philadelphian has, and loyalists have been calling on one for well over a decade and the legendary Roots member has finally delivered. 

Streams of Thought Vol. 1

Streams of Thought Vol. 1, an album by Black Thought on Spotify

Joining forces with 9th Wonder, Thought creates his own DJ Premier-like collab with the producer for the snack-sized 5-track opus where the emcee delivers his form of poetry like a machine gun with dictionary bullets. 9th Wonder’s rhythmic 808s against various jazz and afrobeat samples keep the wave, while features from Styles P and 9th Wonder’s Grammy-nominated artist Rapsody keeps it strictly for fans of intelligent rhyme syncopation. 

The completeness of the short project was due to its team of beat miners known as the Jamla Beat Collective and The Soul Council, which consist of producers 9th Wonder, Nottz, Khrysis, E. Jones, Eric G., and Amp and Kash. Meanwhile, the cover of the album was an art piece created by Rashid Johnson called Untitled Anxious Audience, which played a significant role in the overall aesthetic of the EP. 

Streams of Thought Vol. 1 cover art by @rashidjohnson titled “Untitled Anxious Audience” Visual art has always been an inspiration. I was a visual artist when I was younger. Every type of medium, but it was my mode of expression before music. For this project I wanted the best artwork, especially from other Black artists with similar reference points. Rashid and I both explore memory. For Rashid it’s through his materials. African soap and wax, both familiar to his childhood. His pieces have a internal rhythm (follow his hand marks). And it’s about the individual and collective angst. Midnight, 6/1. ___ #streamsofthought #twofifteen #philly #philadelphia #culture #theroots #hiphop #rap #newyork #ny #oldschool #blackexcellence #lyrics #blackart #artwork #artist

6,112 Likes, 255 Comments – Black Thought (@blackthought) on Instagram: “Streams of Thought Vol. 1 cover art by @rashidjohnson titled “Untitled Anxious Audience” …”

Visual art has always been an inspiration, Thought said on Instagram. I was a visual artist when I was younger. Every type of medium, but it was my mode of expression before music. For this project, I wanted the best artwork, especially from other Black artists with similar reference points. Rashid and I both explore memory. For Rashid its through his materials. African soap and wax, both familiar to his childhood. His pieces have an internal rhythm (follow his hand marks). And its about the individual and collective angst.

The track list starts with Twofifteen, where Thought gives his lyrical take on his native Philadelphia to 9th vs. Thought where the two flex on each other gloriously for sonic bliss. Dostoyevsky crowns a new boy meets girl hip hop duo as Rapsody and Thought, obliterate any other iteration of the tandem while Styles P shines alongside his lyrical brother on Making A Murderer. Thought ends the album appropriately with Thank You which allow him to pay homage to the fans, the game, and those who incubated his great.  

The only drawback is the fact that the album is only 5 tracks. Much like the new trend of EP’s becoming the new full album, Thought doesn’t waste time with skits and album fillers and gets straight to the meat and potatoes fast before leaving you wanting more. Since this is only volume one, we can only imagine what songs we have yet to hear or that are still on the cutting room floor. Either way, this new dynamic duo is keeping the road brightly lit for purveyors of purist hip-hop.    

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