A charismatic rapper falls in love with a young Jewish girl despite the confines of her religious background. CORNISH: Well, Tariq Trotter, aka Black Thought, thank you so much for speaking with ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.
black thought freestyle – Black Thought Says Masters Of 2 Classic Roots LPs Were Destroyed In 2008 Fire
There aren’t that many men in hip-hop who have a more iconic look than The Root’s MC Black Thought. The Roots also collaborated with R&B singer Betty Wright on the 2011 album Betty Wright: The Movie , credited to Betty Wright and the Roots. The album, co-produced by Wright and Questlove, was nominated for a 2012 Grammy in the “Best Traditional R&B Performance”.
TROTTER: (Rapping) This unbroken token of appreciation for frequencies and stations not keeping the people waiting, for players who support and remaining completely patient. And each and every record in the basement, listen; thank you.
We found the right church in Harlem. Their minister Rev. Derrick McQueen is an out gay male and has a Ph.D. in ethics. We’re also working with Brooklyn’s First Presberyian Baptist Church that’s ministered by a black woman. These are spaces where people see them for who they are and love them because that’s the mission that God has given us.
The Roots originated in Philadelphia with Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter while they were both attending the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts 4 They would busk out on the street corners with Questlove playing bucket drums and Tariq rapping over his rhythms. Their first organized gig was a talent show in 1989 at the school where they used the name Radio Activity, which began a series of name changes that progressed through Black to the Future and then The Square Roots. 5 Another MC, Malik B., and a permanent bass player, Leonard “Hub” Hubbard, were added to the band before the release of their first album. In 1992, they dropped the “Square” from “Square Roots” because a local folk group had claim to the name.
Stream of Thought, Vol. 2 will feature production from Salaam Remi who has famously worked with the likes of the late Amy Winehouse, Nas and Mack Wilds with up to nine tracks. On this album, the 47-year old rapper incorporates throwback soul sounds as well as classic Motown in his music.
CORNISH: Trotter is best known as Black Thought. “Tonight Show” fans know him for his look – short-brimmed hats, dark glasses, regal beard and a smile that, while rare onstage, lights up the place. Despite 25-plus years as The Roots’ front man and lyricist, Trotter hasn’t really done a project without them until now.
Biography: Tariq Luqmaan Trotter (born October 3, 1971), better known as Black Thought, is an American artist who is the lead MC of the Philadelphia-based hip hop group The Roots, as well as an occasional actor. Black Thought, who co-founded The Roots with drummer Questlove (Ahmir Thompson), is widely lauded for his live performance skills, continuous multisyllabic rhyme schemes, complex lyricism, double entendres, and politically aware lyrics.
The 1996 release Illadelph Halflife was the group’s third album and their first to break the Top 40 on the Billboard 200 chart, 6 spurred in part by MTV’s airplay of the video for “What They Do” (a parody of rap video clichés) 8 and “Clones”, which was their first single to reach the top five on the rap charts. The band added “What They Do” was also the group’s first single to hit the Top 40 of Billboard’s charts, reaching a peak of #34. Scott Storch left the band and was replaced by a new keyboardist, Kamal Gray. The band’s sound would take a darker turn during this period, heavily influenced by the Wu-Tang Clan and the RZA ‘s grimy and haunting production style, replete with samples from old jazz and classical music. The album is also notable for its many guests and collaborators, including Common , D’Angelo , Q-Tip , and others. These collaborations would provide the foundation for the creation of the Soulquarians and permanently forged the Roots’ association with the neo-soul subgenre.
But continuing curiosity also played a role. “I strive for improvement,” he told Farber. “I want to be a master of my craft. And I don’t know if that’s a work ethic that transferred over from the musicians I was around in high school, but that’s how I get down. I want to be at the top of my game. That’s what pushes me to go back to the drawing board and try to come up with some s-t that’s going to be fresher.” With a new Roots album on the way and a collaboration with producer Danger Mouse on the way in 2007, Black Thought seemed far from exhausted creatively.
Check out Black Thought’s freestyle above and more reactions below. Maybe it has something to do with him never dropping an album. No, seriously: Never. Trotter’s lyrics are never removed from the context of the band, so his individual skills are less widely known.
There’s so many stories that are huge that are sort of lost in the sauce of the ever-evolving newsfeed,” Trotter admitted. Once it’s out of the cycle it’s often out of, not public perception, but public recollection.” With the Philadelphia native’s latest offering, the world will once again be reminded of the same emotions they experienced six years ago.
Because most of the band members hail from Philadelphia and its surrounding area, they showed their support for the Phillies during the 2009 World Series against the Yankees, displaying Phillies memorabilia when performing on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon On the episode which aired the day after the Yankees clinched the title, Questlove stated “No comment!” on the show’s intro (when he usually states the episode number), and had a Yankees logo purposely displayed upside-down on his drumset. In 2010, the group showed support for the Flyers during their run to the Stanley Cup Final by having the team logo on their drumset, and again in 2014 when the Flyers faced the New York Rangers in the first round of the playoffs on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
I think so. The culture of hip-hop — not just the rapping but the graffiti, the dancing, the attitude — was an escape for me. Because I was a visual artist, it was the graffiti component that pulled me in. I became a tagger. I bombed walls all over the city with the name DT” or Double T,” which are my initials, Tariq Trotter.
To rap fans, it may feel like Eminem has never been bigger than he was in 2000, when he was named XXL’s Man of the Year, memorably flooded the MTV VMAs with hundreds of Slim Shady lookalikes, and enjoyed the second-biggest opening week of sales in music-industry history by moving 1.8 million copies of The Marshall Mathers LP. But, as weird as it may sound, Eminem was actually more famous in the decade that followed. It’s a telling sign of the post-monoculture era we live in: 2010’s-era Eminem, who in no way dominated the national conversation the way early-aughts Eminem did, absolutely crushed him on the charts.
The labels and hopeful projections placed upon The Roots, was one of the driving forces behind Black Thought’s desire to create his own image, and define his sound and album. He considers the creation of a solo album, his way of showing another dimension of myself, while still being a member of the Roots, I can have other grooves of myself. With the solo album, I have a chance to really highlight myself by using very straight ahead rhymes & beats. But one thing I want to take from The Roots into my own work is the idea of pushing the musical envelope.” A versatile MC, Black Thought has held his own through one capricious decade of hip-hop, finally to emerge like a phoenix from a flame. Like any great artist, Black Thought has learned to layer and play with the phonetics and syllables of his words. Yet, he all the while keeps in use his powerful metaphoric imagery that makes him one of the most intense and ingenious lyricist of our time.
Earlier this year, composer and producer Adrian Younge curated Amazon Music’s Produced By series of Amazon Original singles to celebrate the spectrum of Black music during Black History Month and today, Younge’s Linear Labs released an exclusive clip from the set featuring Younge’s ten-piece band with Ali Shaheed Muhammad, The Midnight Hour, and special guest rapper Black Thought You may recognize The Midnight Hour as the crew that soundtracked Netflix’s now-canceled Luke Cage series, drawing on throwback funk and soul to evoke the Blaxploitation films that originally inspired the Marvel Comics character.
The music video, directed by Rohan Blair-Mangat (JAY-Z’s BAM”) and shot inside NYC’s Gotham Hall, portrays surveillance footage of Martin inside of the 7-Eleven, still shots of anti-gun violence rallies, and emotional footage of his parents Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin Since their son’s death, a large number of people have fallen victim to police shootings (559 alone in 2018 according to The Washington Post ) or have been the target of mass shooters from Las Vegas to Parkland, Florida.
When I was 12, I was arrested for tagging a basketball court in a South Philadelphia park known as the Lot. I was sentenced in juvenile court to what was known as scrub time, in the Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti network. I was supervised by a lady named Jane Golden, who now runs the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program , of which I have been a longstanding board member. Talk about full circle.
The set concludes with a new version of “Say My Name,” a song Mumu wrote about Sandra Bland, who died in police custody in 2015, and the impact it had on her. Starting off with a 1950s doo-wop circle, she blends traditional soul elements with politically relevant lyrics. Given Mumu’s stint writing and touring with The Roots after high school, it was only fitting to have front man and lyrical force Black Thought make a special guest appearance.
Hip-hop has changed. Eminem (and Nicki Minaj) should go sit in a corner somewhere and complain together over whatever types of tea millionaire hip-hop NIMBYers with trash albums drink. And I’m a hip-hop head, raised on the music of the ’90s, where if you ask me some of the best hip-hop to ever exist was created. But times change and things change and if it didn’t the culture would die. Kanye has said a lot of dumb shit, but listen to the kids, bro” is proving to be fairly prophetic. Lots of these young rappers are doing things with music that artists in the ’90s would never contemplate doing. From Kendrick to Chance to Saba to even artists like Lil Uzi Vert, music is doing shit nowadays that it has never done. With that news, there’s a new-old group on the horizon.
Happy anniversary to Black Thought’s 10 minutes of pure excellence. It was an unexpected, yet welcome, surprise. The irony of this freestyle over Mobb Deep’s classic BURN” is not lost on us. I remember how the internet went crazy, as it should have. The reactions on social media, as well as the comment section on Hot 97’s YouTube clip, are amazing. I just want to go back to that day for a few minutes, show the freestyle and also post a few reactions.
But if these insurgent young wild-styles still perplex you, two new lightning bolts may have brightened your December skies. The first one struck YouTube on Thursday: a locomotive 10-minute freestyle by Black Thought of the Roots. The second hit the sales floor Friday: Eminem’s new studio album, “Revival.” And while these were two distinct chunks of music — Black Thought’s deeds sounded herculean while Eminem’s notepad seems to have exploded in the microwave — both were cheered as rebuttals to the mumble-jumble of Lil Uzi Vert , Playboi Carti, Migos and all of the other young voices currently pushing rap into alien turf.
It’s always been about the greater good of our organization for me. All those solo efforts that I’ve announced, it breathes new life into the awareness of me as an artist. The Roots brand always has to be maintained, and we’re just at a place now where prime-time TV affords us a different sort of visibility and I’m able to kind of take a step back and focus on some of the other creative energy that I still need to get out. None of this is my solo album. It’s just a chance to see me in a different light doing a different thing.
With a growing chronological divide between the era of New York 80s rap and the present, there are less vehicles for those inspirations and influences to trickle down into the creative spaces occupied by modern young musicians. These vehicles can be trusted elders who show you their dusty old vinyls, a throwback joint that finds its way to the radio, or ten-minute freestyle clinics from 46-year old rappers.
Presented by The Friends of Education of The Museum of Modern Art as part of the series Conversations: Among Friends, this evening’s program, Crossing Disciplines, features a conversation between artist Leslie Hewitt and musician Tariq ‘Black Thought” Trotter, moderated by Jasmine Martin. The discussion focuses on their collaborations, the symbiotic relationship between music and art, and the shared influences, inspirations, and cultural identities that have shaped their careers.
In December 2017, Black Thought appeared on HOT 97 with Funkmaster Flex where he performed a 10-minute freestyle over “The Learning (Burn)” instrumental by Mobb Deep This freestyle went widely viral, trending over Twitter for the next days and hitting millions of views on YouTube 28 29 Streams of Thought, Vol. 1 , a collaborative EP with producer 9th Wonder , was released on June 1, 2018. 30 Streams of Thought, Vol. 2: Traxploitation, a collaboration with producer Salaam Remi , was released on November 26, 2018.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock or are just completely inept when it comes to navigating social media, you’ve definitely stumbled across Black Thought ‘s electrifying Hot 97 freestyle at some point this past weekend.
Summary: The debut five-track solo EP from The Roots’ Tariq Trotter was produced by 9th Wonder and The Soul Council. The Roots MC Tariq Black Thought” Trotter remembers that day. Tariq is the best rapper I’ve ever heard ever in life. I will continue to say that.
Also on the stacked bill: New Orleans party band Tank & the Bangas, neo-soul singer Ari Lennox and Miami rap duo City Girls. This year, Roots rapper Tariq Black Thought” Trotter and J. Period’s mixtape,” has serious star power in Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def). And yes, there will be Questlove Cheesesteaks (without meat), podcasts, femmepowerment” panel discussions, and a Common book signing.
Part of me hopes that the game gets the message. Lyrical prowess like Trotter’s is rare — even generational. All talent needs inspiration and role models to look up to, emulate, and one day ultimately surpass. There is no better gold standard for old-school tried-and-true lyricism than the discography of Black Thought, and no one better to learn from than the greats. I would love to see a generation of rappers inspired by Black Thought to take the mic and contribute their verses.
As it turns out, their soulful renditions are the perfect backdrop for some forceful, poetic hip-hop as well. Not only did numerous rap legends like Method Man and Rakim contribute to the groovy soundtrack of the show, but Black Thought’s live performance with the band transforms him from one of rap’s most respected lyricists to a a downright folk griot as he skillfully maneuvers across the lush soundscape provided by the band.
Mumu is not new to NPR Music. During her guest appearance at February’s August Greene Tiny Desk, she stirred emotions with her verse on “Practice,” which spoke cathartically about the realities of being a black woman. Mumu began her own Tiny Desk in her native Lakota tongue with “Ink Pata,” signaling a call to prayer in a sacred ritual. Looped tribal chants of her own harmonies set the mood as delivered a stirring spoken word performance that journeyed through her ancestral lineage to the struggles of the present day.
Today, Tariq Trotter—better known as Black Thought, MC for pioneering Philly hip-hop band The Roots—has released his first-ever album LP, Streams of Thought Vol. 1, produced by 9th Wonder and The Soul Council. While he has been one of hip-hop’s most well-respected wordsmiths for years, until now, his ample body of work has predominantly come as a member of The Roots—an unusual position for a rapper to be in.
The Roots released their first album, Organix in 1993. It was followed up by signing with DGC Records and released Do You Want More in 1995. Surprisingly, the album was recorded without any sampling, and the alternative music fans love the album more than the hip-hop lovers.
How I Got Over reflects the relief the band felt at the end of the Bush administration and the beginning of the Obama presidency. Guests include Blu , Phonte and Patty Crash A cover of Cody Chesnutt ‘s song “Serve This Royalty” was expected to be covered on the album, similar to the group’s reworking of his single for The Seed 2.0 on Phrenology. 22 Rather than relying on samples, the album was recorded live, with covers (including Celestial Blues, featuring the song’s original artist, Andy Bey ) being reinterpreted by the band. 23 The album was released on June 22, 2010.
Streams of Thought, Vol. 2 arrived shortly afterwards in November, bringing more of the same in the best possible way. Trotter returns with similarly legendary producer Salaam Remi, who lays down the smooth, soulful 23 minutes split into nine tracks. Remi’s production is reminiscent of The Roots’ live instrumentations, putting Trotter right at home among the chunky drums and jazzy clarinet trills.
Black Thought recorded a solo album, to be titled Masterpiece Theatre and released in 2001, 9 but the project was scrapped after he learned that the album would not count toward The Roots’ contractual commitments. Most of the songs from the project appeared on The Roots’ Phrenology album.
The Roots also collaborated with R&B singer Betty Wright on the 2011 album Betty Wright: The Movie , credited to Betty Wright and the Roots. The album, co-produced by Wright and Questlove, was nominated for a 2012 Grammy in the “Best Traditional R&B Performance”.
You see, what had happened was that Black Thought’s freestyle still somehow seemed not long enough; he basically made the case that some have maintained for years that he should be in anyone’s Top 5. And Twitter was there for every bar (except for those who saw #BlackThought trending and thought it was racial, and reacted, well, let’s just say they took it the wrong way). The video of the performance has more than 1 million views.