Many Hip-Hop heads would list Black Thought in their round up of best lyricists without hesitation. The lead rapper of the pioneering Hip-Hop band The Legendary Roots Crew, Tariq Trotter has delivered some of the best bars in the history of the genre. The Philly native decided to enlighten those who didn’t know, or might have forgotten, about his lyrical talents when he dropped by Funk Flex’s New York-based radio show on Hot 97 FM. He hit the airways with a 10-minute verbal barrage that left listeners in awe, and quickly went viral. Thought spoke with Rolling Stone about the freestyle, as well as his opinion on the state of Hip-Hop in 2017 and beyond.
“I think Hip-Hop, the culture, is at a crossroads right now, and there’s not very much that people who are older than millennials have to identify with,” Black Thought told Rolling Stone. “There isn’t much that’s reaching the mainstream that is hip-hop in the sense that people my age know it as, if that makes any sense. The game has changed. It’s different. The standards are different, the criteria that’s taken into consideration in determining validity is different. We’re at a point in history where lyricism almost comes last in very many regards. So for someone from my school, who has come from the ilk of lyricism being held in far higher regard, it brings a different sort of urgency to every performance.”
Thought’s statements echo what a lot of Hip-Hop heads feel. One of the biggest reasons for the disconnect between the luminaries of rap and today’s rising stars is a lack of communication and interest of understanding on both ends. The youth tend to show little respect for those who’ve blazed the trail, while the OGs are quick to dismiss those on the come-up because things are different from what they’ve grown to love. Creating more dialogue, exchanging accolades and perhaps a little history helps bridge the gap between generations. It only strengthens the genre. It’s also a great reminder that the past and present of rap music aren’t as different as they seem. Plus, OGs like Black Thought get to breakdown facts.
“Lots of people are saying that I shut down mumble rap in one 10-minute setting. But that wasn’t my intention, because mumble rap – if we go back – that’s something I invented,” Thought stated. “I invented rapping without actually using the words. With songs like Don’t Say Nuthin’, freestyles like New Year’s At Jay Dee’s, I essentially invented mumble rap, where you go for many bars without saying any words. And when I did it, it came from a place of being inspired by scatting.”
To read the complete interview on Rolling Stone, check it out here.