Black Thought Can’t Let The Year End Without Spitting Its Best Freestyle (Video)
Black Thought did not release an album in 2017, nor did The Roots. However, Tariq Trotter spent the year at the top of the MC class. He sizzled the mic on albums by Logic, Rapsody, and David Banner. There was a surprise MF DOOM collaboration released, and a deeply meaningful Hamilton-inspired cut with De La Soul’s Plug 1 and Pharoahe Monch. The Roots and Bilal dropped one of the most powerful songs in years as a standalone. If all of that were not enough, the South Philadelphia native MC tag-team K.O.’d a Sway In The Morning freestyle with Deuce co-star Method Man.
In the closing days of the year, Black Thought proves he’s not done proving himself to be the best. Reportedly by fan request, Tariq is the latest guest on Funkmaster Flex’s freestyle series. With Mobb Deep and Big Noyd’s “The Learning (Burn)” instrumental playing, Black Thought schools MCs with that fire in one take. “Maybe I’m the new Rakim, maybe I’m Fab, Pharoahe / Under garments of armor be my intimate apparel / Pre-Kardashian Kanye, my rhyme-play immaculate / Same cadence as D.O.C., pre-accident / Maybe my acumen’s on par with Kool G Rap and them / Give me the proper respect, mothaf*cka, we back again! / For a couple things we lost in the fire / The drive, the desire / To perform on a higher plateau / I’m at that show, lost and admired / Wonderin’ how we got so far from inspired.” Later, the MC makes even more comparisons, “I’m K-dot-Lamar / Meets Tupac Shakur / Got profiled by a few cops, too hot to charge / Listen, somebody said a price-tag on a rapper’s head / So we gonna see a nice bag with the rapper dead / The mask black, the flag green, black, and red / They’ll probably wave a white flag after plasma shed / No doubt / Yo, the game went its own route / I can’t explain what these lame kids is tal’m ’bout.”
Further in the 10-minute display, Black Thought owns the greatness. At 7:20, he charges, “I never thought I’d be winning Grammy Awards with The Roots / I never thought that I’d be getting long in the tooth / My OG told me, ‘Boy, you better go and live your truth’ / I am a walking affirmation / That imagination, focus, and patience / Gets you closer to your aspiration / And just ’cause they give you sh*t don’t mean you have to take it / My words capture greatness.” Moments later, he rests his case with, “I ain’t one of y’all peers / I’m the sum of all fears / Somebody stronger than me, who ‘dat? I’m all ears / Like Obama, I wish he had another four years.” Thought’s latest display is confident, witty, and drenched in that personal truth.
In this sprawling lyrical exercise, Black Thought praises his hard-working mother, big ups his crew, and puts on for his city. This moment is packed with inspiration, swagger, and history surrounding a proven living legend of the mic.
#BonusBeat: This 2017 video analyzes Black Thought as the Greatest MC Of All Time (G.O.A.T.). 9th Wonder and J. Period spoke about the greatness they’ve witnessed in this TBD episode.