Black Thought - Streams of Thought Vol. 1
Streams of Thought Vol. 1
I haven't been too quiet about my thoughts on The Roots becoming the house band for The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Sure their musicianship and cred adds an air of edginess to the now floundering show, but has their been a bigger sellout in history? These were the guys throwing fists in the air and now they were playing pre=school instruments with Meghan Trainor and cashing checks from NBC? What the hell? That is why this new EP from Roots rapper Black Thought was so exciting, finally something from the Roots camp that wasn't prime time TV approved or some story about Questlove DJing for Prince. This album has an edge, and deals heavily with Black THought's reflections on racism, the state of America and a distinct blackness that has been absent from the things The Roots have been doing for years. Black Thought makes you remember how vicious his vocal is, how great his flow is and how He can turn a phrase better than almost anyone in the game. His style makes you long of the days of MCs and boom boom bap beats. I was primed and ready to hate this record, to call it dated and signal that The Roots truly were done for good, but that just is not the case with this record. Hip Hop today is not about who can spit the fastest, hottest rhymes anymore, but Black Thought shifts that narrative and makes it feel important again. He has something to say with his words, not just a club banger to make.
The record is savagely short at only 17 minutes, making you think the "Vol. 1" might mean a few more of these coming out before Thought is done. The Roots have been known in the past of putting out a few volumes in their day, and I wouldn't mind a couple more of these types of records down the road. It is also a nice departure for Black Thought to rap over some real beats on this record rather than over live instrumentation. It's hard to believe this record is a debut for Black Thought since his voice has been almost ever present for a couple of decades. It is also interesting to hear how braggadocios Thought can be about his own lyrical skill, but than how open and vulnerable He can be in other aspects of his life. This record really gives you a picture of the whole human being, while still being really of this moment. He can go from talking about Dostoyevsky on the track featuring the writers name into other more here and now related topics. This was certainly the album that Black Thought needed to make, let's just be happy that it's finally arrived!
8.2 out of 10