Tag: Black Thought

New Video: Danger Mouse and Black Thought Team Up for a Banger

Born Brian Burton, Danger Mouse is arguably one of the most versatile and prolific artists and producers in music right now: As an artist he’s one-half of Broken Bells and Gnarls Barkley and has recorded collaborative albums with Yeah Yeah YeahsKaren O and the late, legendary MF DOOM. As a producer, he’s worked with Adele, U2, The Black Keys, Gorillaz, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Michael Kiwanuka, Parquet Courts and a lengthy list of others.

Born Tariq Trotter, Black Thought is a co-founder and frontman of The Roots. Trotter is an accomplished solo artist who has released a critically applauded album and two EPs: 2020’s Streams of Thought Vol. 3: Cane & Abel and 2018’s Streams of Thought Vol. 1 EP and Streams of Thought Vol. 2 EP. While considered by the cognoscenti as one of the dopest emcees to ever do it, Trotter has also acted in film and theater. And has producer and writing credits.

Their long-awaited joint album together Cheat Codes is slated for an August 12, 2022 release through BMG. While Cheat Codes marks Danger Mouse’s first hip-hop album since 2005’s DANGERDOOM with MF and the follow-up to Black Thoughts’ solo trilogy Streams of Thought, their collaboration can be traced back almost almost 20 years: Trotter and Burton first met back in 2005. They started working on material — but time went on, life happened, other projects and obligations came up.

Following 2004’s The Grey Album, Burton became one of the most in-demand and prolific producers of the day, helming several commercially and critically successful projects, which led to a bevy of accolades and awards. He also developed collaborations with a unique and eclectic array of artists while expanding upon and honing his own musicianship, production and writing.

During that same period of time, The Roots released some critically applauded albums and became the house band for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon then The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Trotter released his aforementioned, critically applauded solo trilogy Streams of Thought. He collaborated with the likes of Eminem, John Legend, Pusha T., Griselda, and a list of others. He wrote, composed and starred in the widely-praised off Broadway show Black No More. And adding to a lengthy list of accomplishments, he co-produced a TV series with his Roots bandmate Questlove.

Each mistakenly thought that the other had moved on and their collaboration just died, but as it turned out neither ever stopped wanting to work together. Burton felt an instinctive pull to go back to his roots and make a timeless hip-hop album. He knew that Trotter was the only emcee capable of fulfilling that vision. Simultaneously, Trotter was seeking a space, where he could express himself musically and creatively beyond the confines and structures of his own band.

This time, Burton was a far more seasoned songwriter and producer, Trotter an even more extraordinary emcee.  So, setting aside all distractions, Burton played Trotter some new music he had had. The ideas and words quickly flowed — and the experience was liberating.

Meticulously built over a period of several years, Cheat Codes reportedly finds Burton pushing widescreen, soul-infused hip-hop soundscapes to new directions paired with Trotter’s commanding presence, incisive lyricism and dexterous wordplay. Unlike the typical producer-meets-rapper/side project, Cheat Codes is an effort between two like-minded collaborators, who raise each other’s games to new heights.

The album also features an equally acclaimed cast of guests including A$AP Rocky, Run The Jewels, MF DOOM, Michael Kiwanuka, Joey Bada$$, Russ, Raekwon, and Conway the Machine.

Cheat Codes‘ first single “No Gold Teeth” is centered around a warm and dusty old school, psychedelic soul production that to my ears is a slick synthesis of RZA, Pete Rock, and DJ Premier. The production serves as a lush bed for Black Thought’s rapid fire, lyrical deluge. This is that real hip-hop: dope emcees spitting flames over dope beats.

Directed by UNCANNY, the UK-based creative duo of George Muncey and Elliot Elder, the accompanying video is a hypnotic and mind-bending collage of machine learning-created images superimposed over Black Thought’s head.

New Audio: J. Period Teams Up with Dave Chappelle, Black Thought, and Tiffany Gouché on a Soulful Banger

jJ. Period is a Los Angeles-born, Brooklyn-based producer and DJ best known for working with the likes of Q-Tip, John Legend, Nas, Big Daddy Kane, Lauryn Hill, The Roots, The Isley Brothers and Mary J. Blige on official mixtapes — and for developing an “audio-biography” style that incorporates interviews with these artists into his “Best Of” complications. He has also made original productions and remixes for film trailers for American Gangster and Street Kings. In late 2008, the Los Angeles-born, Brooklyn-based producer and DJ became the first DJ/producer ever commissioned by Activision to score and producer an entire video game soundtrack for Tony Hawk’s Motion for Nintendo DS. And before I forget, he worked on The Hamilton Mixtape — while serving as Music Supervisor for the Brooklyn Nets.

The Los Angeles-born, Brooklyn-based producer and DJ’s debut album Story to Tell is a trail-blazing musical journey in three acts — with the first installment, Chapter One slated for an April 30, 2021 release through Truelements Music/RBC Records. Narrated by Dave Chappelle, Story To Tell (Chapter One) is a collaborative endeavor that blurs the lines between song and story; between hip-hop, R&B, jazz, reggae and salsa. Collaborating with an All-Star cast of Grammy-winning writers and musicians, Story To Tell reportedly will create a vibrant world of connections — between artists, songs, stories, genres, cultures and generations in the acclaimed production’s genre and convention defying style.

Story To Tell (Chapter One)’s first single “All In Your Head” plays with the classic audio storybook format with Dave Chapelle serving as a mischievous tour guide, explaining the set up to the proceedings, quickly followed by a slick yet soulful production centered around tweeter and woofer rocking boom bap beats, glitchy vocal samples and shimmering Rhodes serving as a warm bed for an inspiring manifesto to overcoming self-doubt and being fearless featuring Tiffany Gouché’s silky crooning and Black Thought spitting red hot bars. Sonically speaking, “All In Your Head” effortlessly blurs the lines between neo-soul, R&B and hip-hop in a crowd-pleasing fashion.

New Video: Public Enemy Teams up with Run-DMC and Beastie Boys’ Mike D and Ad-Rock on an Animated Visual for Boom Bap Anthem

Earlier this year, the legendary Public Enemy — Chuck D, Flavor Flav, and DJ Lord — released their critically applauded 15th album What You Gonna Do When The Grid Goes Down? The album which features guest spots from a who’s who list of just about everyone who’s truly dope — including Nas, YG, Rapsody, DJ Premier, Black Thought, Questlove, Cypress Hill, Run DMC, Ice-T, PMD, Daddy-O, Jahi, The Impossebulls, Mark Jenkins, the S1W’s Pop Diesel and James Bomb and Beastie Boys‘ Mike D and Ad-Rock — marks the act’s return to their longtime label home, Def Jam.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site throughout the course of this year, you may recall that I’ve written about two of What You Gonna Do When The Grid Goes Down?singles:

“State of the Union (STFU),” a righteous and much-needed DJ Premier-produced tweeter and woofer rocking boom bap condemnation of the Trump Administration. Naturally, the track continues their long-held reputation for boldly speaking truth to power with teh track urging the listener to get involved and fight systemic racism, injustice and oppression with their voices and through collective action — but most importantly, through their vote. So far about 1 million New Yorkers have voted in early elections, but you still have election day. If you haven’t voted or thinking about not voting because you think that your vote isn’t important, think of it this way: if i’m not mistaken, Trump won a state by less than 100,000 votes. So go out there and vote like your life depends on it — because it does.
“Fight The Power: Remix 2020.” an updated version of their seminal 1989 anthem “Fight The Power” that features inspired guest verses from Nas, Rapsody, Black Thought, YG and JAHI. The original may have been released 31 years ago but it still manages to be relevant and necessary until there’s equity and equality for all.

What You Gonna Do When The Grid Goes Down?‘s latest single “Public Enemy Number Won” is a much-needed blast of tweeter and woofer rocking, old-school boom bap featuring guest verses from a Hall of Fame crew of beloved, hip-hop legends: Run DMC and The Beastie Boys’ Ad-Rock and Mike D. The track should serve as a much-needed reminder that the pioneers of the music we love so much are still as relevant and as important as ever.

“The song is an homage to ‘Public Enemy No. 1 and that moment in time,” Public Enemy’s Chuck D explains in press notes. “The Beastie Boys and Run-DMC were playing it all the time and Rick Rubin kept coming at us to sign with Def Jam. So it’s my way of bringing it all back together again.”

The recently released, official video for ‘Public Enemy Number Won” features an animated version of each emcee spitting bars paired with archival concert posters, photography, footage and more as some amazing visual easter eggs.

Lyric Video: Public Enemy Teams Up with Run-DMC and Beastie Boys’ Mike D and Ad-Rock

Earlier this year, the legendary Public Enemy — Chuck D, Flavor Flav, and DJ Lord — released their critically applauded 15th album What You Gonna Do When The Grid Goes Down? The album which features guest spots from a who’s who list of just about everyone who’s truly dope — including Nas, YG, Rapsody, DJ Premier, Black Thought, Questlove, Cypress Hill, Run DMC, Ice-T, PMD, Daddy-O, Jahi, The Impossebulls, Mark Jenkins, the S1W’s Pop Diesel and James Bomb and Beastie Boys’ Mike D and Ad-Rock — marks the act’s return to their longtime label home, Def Jam.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site throughout the course of this year, you may recall that I’ve written about two of What You Gonna Do When The Grid Goes Down? singles:

“State of the Union (STFU),” a righteous and much-needed DJ Premier-produced tweeter and woofer rocking boom bap condemnation of the Trump Administration. Naturally, the track continues their long-held reputation for boldly speaking truth to power with teh track urging the listener to get involved and fight systemic racism, injustice and oppression with their voices and through collective action — but most importantly, through their vote. So far about 1 million New Yorkers have voted in early elections, but you still have election day. If you haven’t voted or thinking about not voting because you think that your vote isn’t important, think of it this way: if i’m not mistaken, Trump won a state by less than 100,000 votes. So go out there and vote like your life depends on it — because it does.
“Fight The Power: Remix 2020.” an updated version of their seminal 1989 anthem “Fight The Power” that features inspired guest verses from Nas, Rapsody, Black Thought, YG and JAHI. The original may have been released 31 years ago but it still manages to be relevant and necessary until there’s equity and equality for all.

What You Gonna Do When The Grid Goes Down?’s latest single “Public Enemy Number Won” is a much-needed blast of tweeter and woofer rocking, old-school boom bap goodness featuring guest verses from a Hall of Fame crew of legends: Run DMC and The Beastie Boys’ Ad-Rock and Mike D. And for that added blast of nostalgia, the hip-hop legends released a lyric video featuring classic 80s Def Jam footage of all of the artists.

Along with the release of the video, Public Enemy announced their support of Election Super Centers’ Make History Here initiative. The non-partisan group has been working with local election authorities and more than 70 NBA, MLB, NFL, NHL and MLS arenas, stadia and teams, as well as prominent artists and athletes to inform communities that their local arena or stadium is open as a polling location, ensuring safe, socially-distanced voting.

New Video: Public Enemy Teams Up with Nas, Rapsody, Black Thought, YG, and JAHI on an Updated Rendition of “Fight the Power”

Last week Public Enemy — Chuck D., Flava Flav and DJ Lord — released a fiery DJ Premier-produced anti-Trump banger, “State of the Union (STFU),” a track that simultaneously continues the act’s long-held reputation for hard-hitting politically charged work, and their legendary frontman’s reputation for addressing and challenging Trump’s policies and rhetoric. 

Last night, the legendary hip-hop act helped kick off the 20th Annual BET Awards with an updated rendition of their seminal anthem “Fight The Power,” that features guest verses from a who’s who list of dope emcees that includes Nas, Rapsody, Black Thought, YG and JAHI. 30+ years  have passed since its original release and the members of Public Enemy are middle aged but the song is still relevant, necessary and power — and will be until there’s equity and equality for all. 

The video which features each of the performers in various locations is intercut with protest footage. The clothing may have changed a little bit but the protests and the sentiment is still the same: BLACK LIVES MATTER! 

Live Footage: Royce da 5’9″ Performs “Thou Shall” and “Overcomer” on Vevo’s Ctrl

Born Ryan Daniel Montgomery, Royce da 5’9″ is a Detroit, MI-born and-based emcee, best known for his longtime association with Eminem, with whom he’s one half of duo, Bad Meets Evil, a critically applauded solo career, primarily collaborating with Carlos “6 July” Broady and DJ Premier, as well as ghostwriting for the likes of Diddy and Dr. Dre. He’s also a member of Slaughterhouse, an All-Star hip-hop act that also features Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz and Crooked I, and one half of PRhyme with the legendary (and aforementioned) DJ Premier.

As the story goes, Royce da 5’9″ signed his first deal with Tommy Boy Records, who offered him $1 million while Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment offered him $250,000 and unlimited beats, a decision that he described as one of his biggest regrets in a 2016 Complex interview. After Tommy Boy Records closed, the Detroit-based emcee signed a deal with Columbia and Game Recordings, with whom he began recording an album then titled Rock City, a title which referred to Detroit being the former (and best known) home of Motown Records. When the album wound up being heavily bootlegged, the Detroit-based emcee left that label for Koch to re-record the album, eventually releasing it 2002 as Rock City (Version 2.0). And although the album didn’t sell well, the DJ Premier-produced single “Boom” helped Royce achieve some underground recognition and lead to the two working more closely with PRhyme.

Their 2014 debut album together featured both artists going out of their comfort zones, and expanding upon their familiar sounds; in fact, Premier enlisted the compositional skills of Adrian Younge, whose work he sampled throughout the album’s production while Royce da 5’9″ traded bars with the likes of MF Doom and Little Brother‘s Phonte on the initial release, and with The Roots‘ Black Thought, Joey Bada$$ and Logic on the deluxe edition released the following year. 2014 also saw Royce da 5’9″ team up with Eminem on the posse cut “Detroit vs. Everybody.” 

Since then, the Detroit-based emcee released 2016’s solo album Layers, 2018’s Book of Ryan, which featured another ongoing collaboration with Eminem “Caterpillar,” that year’s second PRhyme album Phyme 2 and a guest spot of Eminem’s surprise release Kamikaze. 2020 continues a recent period of incredible prolificacy with the release of his eighth album, the 22 track The Allegory, which features guest spots from Westside Gunn, YBN Cordae, Benny the Butcher, and a boatload of others. 

Vevo’s Ctrl series highlights the work of hard-hitting, cutting-edge artists making an impact in today’s music scene with a focus on both emerging and established artists. The artists Vevo’s Ctrl series features are artists that the video platform believes demand attention, and the series is a way of shining a deserving spotlight on those artists. Recently, Vevo’s Ctrl invited the acclaimed Detroit-based emcee to their Brooklyn studios to perform two tracks off the album — “Overcomer” and “Thou Shall.” “Thou Shall” is centered around an eerie, RZA-like production: stuttering beats, a sinuous bass line and a looping string sample and eerie atmospherics while Royce da 5’9″ of bold and swaggering pronouncement of being doper than anyone else out there, full of pop cultural references with Kid Vishis slamming the door on anyone who may challenge them. “Overcomer” is centered around a looped and seemingly ancient soul sample and thumping beats while Royce da 5’9″ rhymes about blessings, the wisdom he’s earned, sociopolitical observations and more.

The performances that Vevo’s Ctrl captured are swaggering, passionate within an intimate yet minimalist setting.  

Live Footage: The Midnight Hour and Black Thought Perform “Noir” at The Lodge Room

A Tribe Called Quest’s Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Adrian Younge, a Los Angeles-based composer, arranger and producer teamed up with a 10 member ensemble, The Midnight Hour, which features vocalists Loren Oden and Angela Munoz and guitarist Jack Waterson to compose and record the score to the acclaimed Netflix series Luke Cage. Last year, the ensemble released their self-titled debut which further established their sound: jazz and orchestral-inspired hip-hop that recalls David Axelrod, Quincy Jones and Jazzmatazz-era Gang Starr. 

The act has been and will continue to be rather busy:  Linear Labs has already released Jack Waterson’s psych rock solo album Adrian Younge Presents Jack Waterson and albums from the act’s Oden and Munoz, as well as the act’s highly-anticipated sophomore album are slated to be released over the coming months.

The Midnight Hour will be embarking on an extensive fall tour across North America with  collaborative opening sets from Oden, Munoz and Waterson. The tour includes a stop tomorrow night at Brooklyn Bowl — and if you want to check out the rest of the tour dates, as well as ticket information, check out the following link:

http://www.artdontsleep.com/2019/07/20/tmhustour19/

In the meantime, Linear Labs and The Midnight Hour released live footage of the band performing “Noir” with The Roots’ Black Thought. The track originally appeared as part of Amazon Music’s Produced By series that Younge curated, produced and recorded to collectively celebrate the spectrum of Black Music — with the series appropriately being released during Black History Month. Interestingly, the live footage was filmed this past month at Los Angeles’ Lodge Room that featured collaborations with Estelle, Gallant, Georgia Anne Muldrow and a long list of others. 

Of course, the live footage will give you a great sense of what you should expect of the Brooklyn Bowl shows and onward. But just as important, it’s a reminder of a few things — if you’ve forgotten about them: 

Black Thought is fucking dope. 
All dope emcees should record an album with a live jazz or orchestral ensemble. 
When I rule the world, I’ll make sure that’s a law. 
As far as the track, it’s a gorgeous and crafted take on hip-hop that’s sophisticated and cinematic while still being gritty street shit that raises the proceedings to a transcendent, Curtis Mayfield/Issac Hayes soundtrack-level artistry. In an age where a lot of hip-hop is mass produced product, we need to be reminded that it can be a transcendent and powerful art form. 

Born Ryan Daniel Montgomery, Royce da 5’9″ is a Detroit, MI-born and-based emcee, best known for his longtime association with Eminem, with whom he’s one half of duo, Bad Meets Evil, a critically applauded solo career, primarily collaborating with Carlos “6 July” Broady and DJ Premier, as well as ghostwriting for the likes of Diddy and Dr. Dre. He’s also a member of Slaughterhouse, an All-Star hip-hop act that also features Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz and Crooked I, and one half of PRhyme with the legendary DJ Premier.

As the story goes, Royce da 5’9″ signed his first deal with Tommy Boy Records, who offered him $1 million while Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment offered him $250,000 and unlimited beats, a decision that he described as one of his biggest regrets in a 2016 Complex interview. After Tommy Boy Records closed, the Detroit-based emcee signed a deal with Columbia and Game Recordings, with whom he began recording an album then titled Rock City, a title which referred to Detroit being the former (and best known) home of Motown Records. When the album wound up being heavily bootlegged, the Detroit-based emcee left that label for Koch to re-record the album, eventually releasing it 2002 as Rock City (Version 2.0). And although the album didn’t sell well, the DJ Premier-produced single “Boom” helped Royce achieve some underground recognition and lead to the two working more closely with PRhyme.

Their 2014 debut album together featured both artists going out of their comfort zones, and expanding upon their familiar sounds; in fact, Premier enlisted the compositional skills of Adrian Younge, whose work he sampled throughout the album’s production while Royce da 5’9″ traded bars with the likes of MF Doom and Little Brother‘s Phonte on the initial release, and with The RootsBlack Thought, Joey Bada$$ and Logic on the deluxe edition released the following year. PRhyme 2, the duo’s long-awaited sophomore effort is slated for a March 16, 2018 and the album’s latest single “Rock It” features a swaggering production consisting of shimmering synths, twinkling keys, boom bap beats, some of Premier’s classic sampling and scratching which Royce da 5’9″ waxes nostalgic over some of his favorite artists, while reminding listeners that he’s one of contemporary hip-hop’s sadly under-appreciated emcees; but perhaps more important, in an age in which most mainstream artists increasingly sound the same, real hip-hop that I remember  — dope emcees spitting bars over slick and thumping production still exists and is still absolutely necessary.