Black Thought Assists Roots Affiliate Mumu Fresh In A Moving Tiny Desk Concert (Video)
For the latest in their Tiny Desk series, NPR recruits DMV artist Mumu Fresh who, despite her name, is already a seasoned veteran when it comes to the local cubicle concert. In February, Mumu teamed up with August Greene, the super-group featuring Common, Karriem Riggins, and Robert Glasper, in a remarkable performance that has racked up over one million views and counting.
Now featured front and center with a four-count set, Mumu Fresh, backed by fellow Vintage Babies member DJ Dummy (J. Cole, Common, Smoothe Da Hustler) and her band, embarks on a spiritual, intellectual, and culturally bound performance that focuses on the complexity and connection to her history, her acceptance of self, and the power in her humanity and womanhood. Her first single performed, “Ink Pata,” most encompasses all of these qualities in her musicality, as she flows effortlessly between both song and Spoken Word to deliver a powerful message of past and present, paying homage to her Native American and African ancestry.
Mumu Fresh follows with “Miracle.” She eloquently and passionately weaves a delicate, vulnerable song about the desire to have “your moment” and the necessity to be prepared for it before it can present itself to you. Mumu expands, “[This song] really comes from the notion of this idea that we always feel like we’re waiting on something, you know, we’re waiting for something great to happen to us, waiting for our moment, waiting for this and that. But what if your miracle was waiting on you to be prepared, you know? The teacher arrives when the student is ready.”
Transitioning into the latter half of her performance, Mumu Fresh pays tribute to Sandra Bland and other influentially powerful women with “Say My Name,” a soulful ballad that cries in remembrance for the names of those who have fallen, and more importantly, their stories. To wrap it all up, Mumu Fresh brings on The Roots’ Black Thought, who gave Maimouna Youssef her stage name. He has also recorded vocals with Mumu on The Roots’ 2006 single, “Don’t Feel Right,” and their album, Game Theory. The duo debuts a fresh verse from Thought and a snippet of a brand new, currently untitled track specifically written for NPR’s Tiny Desk series.
“So damn tough / I’m Jim Brown meets Conan / Rappers is programmed / Know they softer than a slow jam / ‘Bout to take em out the picture kinda like Roseanne / Oh damn/ The devil under aerial attack / Six wheeler with the cannon on the rack / Mumu Fresh is back / They sayin’ we too black / How hysterical is that?” spits the Illadelph’ MC, who released Streams Of Thought, Vol. 1 last month. Produced by 9th Wonder and The Soul Council, that album is part of Ambrosia For Heads’ midyear best-of list. More volumes are said to be on their way.
#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.