Like any great artist, Black Thought has learned to layer and play with the phonetics and syllables of his words. I had worse times outside of prison than I did in prison. Lyrical prowess like Trotter’s is rare — even generational.
black thought jimmy fallon – Happy Birthday To Tariq Trotter A.k.a. Black Thought, Born October 3, 1971
The Black Thought Project transforms cities into sanctuaries for Black thought. But for Eminem, the characteristics that have persisted through two decades of music aren’t flattering, they’re draining and tiresome. Raping C-list celebrities, gruesomely murdering TV personalities, beating women — to whatever degree these things can be considered interesting” devices of artistic expression coming from a boundary-pushing 26-year-old, they are decidedly less so coming from a 45-year-old man. Em’s personal brand isn’t an aesthetic or tone that can be deftly molded to whatever new ground he wants to cover as he grows; it’s a series of unimaginative tropes that should’ve been left behind in his 20’s.
Now, with the release of his first side project, Streams of Thought Vol. 1 (produced by 9th Wonder and The Soul Council), he’s further emerging from the shadows. It’s a new reckoning for an artful dodger who’s always excelled at drawing complex illustrations while disappearing into his own canvas, but he stops short of calling Streams of Thought a solo project. For Black Thought, the appeal of a collaborative series featuring a rotating cast of producers is less about hogging the spotlight than delivering stream-of-consciousness flows without the meticulous plotting associated with The Roots’ high-concept approach.
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.
But does reality ever unfold like that? In recent years, young rappers have been decorating time in more lifelike ways, letting their words go blurry and slack, hedging their verses with fat pockets of dead air. This makes their music feel chaotic, unpredictable, disordered. And it denies our yearning for resolution, which makes it feel a lot like life.
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.
What I love about Black Thought’s freestyle is that it does everything hip-hop at its best does. He has the technical virtuosity and improvisation, both of which are first-rate. He toasts, boasts, and roasts. He plays with words, and the words play right back.
In the expanded edition release (embedded below), fans get a second Dilla-produced Roots track from this period. New Years @ Jay Dee’s” is released digitally for the first time. Released as a B-side to the Grammy-winning You Got Me,” the song was made in Detroit during an annual tradition for Tariq Trotter.
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.
Not feeling this OMFG REAL RAPZ” the TL is doing bout that Black Thought freestyle for multiple reasons. Rapping over the instrumental of Mobb Deep’s Burn,” Black Thought didn’t skip a beat over the extended freestyle, name-checking Kendrick Lamar, Morgan Freeman, Hamlet, and Jesus.
TROTTER: That actually probably has a lot to do with it. There is a certain part of, you know, almost every day that I live in levity. See below for a list of Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter’s GRAMMY Awards history.
With a buoyant and thoughtful spirit, Mumu and her band transitioned into the classic-sounding “Miracles” from Vintage Babies, her collaborative album with group mate DJ Dummy. Declaring it a celebration of soul music, she mixed sweet tender melodies with lyrics to empower those devoid of hope. It’s in this song that Mumu shared the proverb about the teacher and the student, while reminding us that we all have to be ready for blessings yet to come. It made for a fluid segue into “Work In Progress,” accented by the feel-good chords of The Roots keyboardist Ray Angry, an ebullient backdrop to Mumu’s humanizing and candid rap verse detailing her pathway to personal growth and self-love.
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.
In a recent interview at a restaurant in Union Square, Black Thought talked about his challenging childhood, the visual arts that have inspired his career, and the royal nature of wearing a beard. This time around, Black Though is partnering with producer Salaam Remi, who has worked in the past with artists including Amy Winehouse, The Fugees and Nas.
After the successful release of the album, the band performed at the Lollapalooza alternative music festival and Montreux Jazz Festival. The show was a big hit and made them earn plenty of money. Grab Streams of Thought Vol. 2 below via Apple Music.
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 Roots are featured heavily throughout the show, providing the bumper music in and out of commercials, as well as the opening song ” Here I Come ” and playing the show off the air. Fallon frequently interacts with the band during the course of the show, and they occasionally provide snippets of music for some monologue running jokes such as Funkin’ GoNuts. They also provide music and drum rolls for the games with show guests, along with theme songs for the games and segments like Darts of Insanity, Wheel of Carpet Samples, and Christmas Sweaters.
To support JAY-Z and Paramount Network’s forthcoming docu-series, Rest In Power: The Trayvon Martin Story (July 30), The Roots’ Black Thought penned a song and shot a video that puts the then 17-year-old’s life and death into perspective. “Rest In Power” discusses Martin’s killing, the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement, and the toxic relationship between guns and racial discrimination. The music video, which depicts images of Martin’s distraught parents and racist symbols, also inflates Black Thought’s striking phrases.
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.
As The Roots continued to expand professionally, Trotter’s range of creative abilities became even more apparent. Under the leadership of Trotter and Thompson, The Roots began their over 10 year relationship with Jimmy Fallon as his NBC house band in 2009, starting at Late Night With Jimmy Fallon and transitioning in 2014 to the house band for the new Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Their careers would see a creative explosion throughout the decade, with a slew of releases and a foray into acting by Trotter in Get On Up, a blockbuster biopic about the life of soul legend James Brown. In 2015, Trotter and Thompson took their talents to Broadway. Together they executive produced the cast album for the critically acclaimed Broadway musical Hamilton, adding to their Grammy shelf when Hamilton won Best Musical Theater Album” in February 2016.
It has presented some internal conflict, and the way I address it is just maintaining that separatism. The fact that Jimmy refers to me only as Tariq on prime-time television is right on par with me making a conscious effort to be more vulnerable and show more vulnerability and to be more human and to be more accessible to my audience. In the beginning, I stopped wearing sunglasses and everything. When we started the show, that was short-lived. But yeah, I was trying to just be more transparent in that way. I feel like Black Thought is a name that has so much meaning and depth, not only to me but to my fans, that it’s something that I wanted to hold onto a little bit tighter. At the onset of late night with Jimmy Fallon when it was like, “What are we going to refer to you guys as?” I don’t know, I chose to be Tariq.
A Black Thought Freestyle Thread. Black Thought had quite a few thoughts to share in an epic new freestyle. Black Thought lost his damn mind on this Funk Flex freestyle. Black Thought even starred in films Bamboozled (2000), and movies from 2001, Perfume, Love Rome, and Brooklyn Babylon. His movie career also added a substantial amount to his Net Worth.
It was a coming-of-age record. It was a period, a moment in time, during which the Roots sort of solidified our place in music history. We etched out our identity. I don’t think even going into that recording process we even fully understood who we are, what we would become. What we mean — to the city, to the industry. To the art. By the time the record was done, we realized the weight of it. It’s our watershed moment.
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.
His moniker, Black Thought, has always been a double-entendre that felt like it belonged to all of us for the way it communicates a collective angst and rage, darkness and genius. For the South Philly-bred co-founder of The Roots, born Tariq Trotter, that nuance is equally reflected in his life and rhymes. It’s lent him a depth and duality rare in this age. To find his equal, one almost must look beyond the confines of rap.
But for Eminem, the characteristics that have persisted through two decades of music aren’t flattering, they’re draining and tiresome. Raping C-list celebrities, gruesomely murdering TV personalities, beating women — to whatever degree these things can be considered interesting” devices of artistic expression coming from a boundary-pushing 26-year-old, they are decidedly less so coming from a 45-year-old man. Em’s personal brand isn’t an aesthetic or tone that can be deftly molded to whatever new ground he wants to cover as he grows; it’s a series of unimaginative tropes that should’ve been left behind in his 20’s.
As time passes, artists evolve — their tastes change, their circumstances change, and their art changes as well. But certain qualities are immutable and persistent. For all the thoughtful, reserved ruminations on family and fatherhood that Jay Z has delivered in recent years, he’ll never fully relinquish the unflinching swagger that carried him from ‘03 Bonnie & Clyde” to 99 Problems” to Otis.” And well-paid bandleader of a late-night comedy show with a primarily white audience or not, Black Thought’s sandpaper voice remains an unimpeachable and authoritative Voice of God on any track he lends it to, able to combine simultaneously the bookishness of an academic with the street smarts of a hustler.
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.