The Underrated: Black Thought

There are many MCs who get the love they deserve in hip hop. We talked AZ already, we've discussed Blu, and many others, but one man who is a legend in this game that doesn't get the recognition he deserves is Black Thought. The lead MC of The Roots(If you count Dice Raw or Malik B as members) has been consistently spitting some immaculate verses over the last 20 plus years. Today, @TheRealSchitty and @TrueGodImmortal discuss their love for his lyrics, music and why he deserves more recognition for his talent. Let's end off DAR East Coast Week right.

Here's the thing. We hear people's "top 10 greatest rappers" lists and comparisons all the time. And while I'm now starting to hear Black Thought's name come up more and more, it is still not nearly as much as it should be. Black Thought is in that unique category with Andre 3000 where finding a bad verse from him is like trying to find the needle in the haystack.

Off the top of my head, my favorite verse from him is the verse on Statik Selektah's Birds Eye View in which he, like always, says something to challenge your perspective on common views and thoughts. In this song, its when he says "Who lose if you really ain't nobody until somebody love you? I say you ain't nobody til they speaking highly of you"
And I'm sitting there like "SHIT! HE'S RIGHT!"

Everyone is loved by someone. But not everyone is spoken highly of. The entire verse is pure gasoline and heat. Black Thought, challenging your perspectives at every turn. One of the greatest MC's of all time.

I myself was sleep on Black Thought for some years. From the Do You Want More to Illadelph Halflife period I wasn't truly able to appreciate his skill. Granted I was still in Elementary and middle school during this time anyways, but when I began to listen to The Roots much more regularly, I developed an appreciation for Black Thought and his lyricism. He provides a realistic picture of the world in front of us, while adding in some semblance of a conscious mind. His best work as an MC to me was on the 1999 album Things Fall Apart, but you'd be looking for days to find any subpar work from him. Black Thought is just that dope.

Over the last decade or so, he has carried the Roots albums to another level, with The Tipping Point being less production centered and more focused on his lyrics. On Game Theory and Rising Down, he painted pictures that were cinematic with his verses, before providing us with a true classic on How I Got Over. His verses on "Dear God 2.0" are absolutely flawless and might be my favorite work from him. He has guest verses as well that are amazing, such as his appearance on "My Favorite Mutiny" with The Coup or his verse on the Common track "Stolen Moments Part 2". I thoroughly enjoyed his verse on the Big Pun classic "Super Lyrical" as well. Black has also appeared in several films over the years and uses his comedic prowess to shine on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon as well. That exposure should help the Roots and himself, but time will tell how that plays out for the music.

The final question has always been if Black Thought would make a solo album and for years it seemed like we would get one. To be fair, almost every Roots album is essentially a Black Thought solo album backed by an excellent band. However, we have yet to get one despite many announcements that we would see one soon. Black recently remarked that he is working on one, but time will tell. Could you imagine a Black Thought solo album with production from Premo, Madlib, Alchemist, Pete Rock and other producers that truly fit his sound and lyrics? That could be an amazing moment for hip hop. Regardless, it's time to look back at Black Thought's catalog of verses and appreciate the greatness. He could truly be one of the greatest MCs of all time.

Have any thoughts to add about Black Thought? Or any favorite verses to talk about? Post your comments below as always.



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