Black Thought Is A Top Notch MC. His New Song Shows He’s A Great Singer Too (Audio)
UPDATE: The YouTube version of Black Thought’s “Conception” video:
ORIGINAL NOVEMBER 19 STORY: In eight days, Black Thought is releasing his second project of 2018. November 26’s Streams Of Thought, Vol. 2: Traxploitation will be produced by Salaam Remi (Nas, The Fugees, Amy Winehouse, etc.) as Thought confirmed in the middle of last week. It follows June’s effort with 9th Wonder and his Soul Council ensemble at the helm.
While Streams Of Thought Vol. 1 has not yet yielded a video, the sophomore release in the series gets a visual before it releases. Today, Thought drops “Conception,” a song that demonstrates his versatility on the mic device. It is one of the nine tracks that Tariq Trotter and Salaam Remi made together during two different trips to the hit-making producer’s Miami, Florida studio. With an early 70s Soul feel in the chamber of fellow Philly native Billy Paul, or Donny Hathaway, the track opens with a bellowing that “all that money is good for nothing if it’s scared.” In the video (embedded below), it’s Black Thought delivering this song, while a couple’s silhouette is followed. The MC is known for singing, dating back to The Roots Come Alive, and especially on the Grammy-winning Wake Up! release with John Legend.
The dramatic strings give way to drums. Black Thought then raps, “Look, I am no fashion model, but I got fresh for photographers / The camel coat, had the collar up / ‘Cause my emotions was bottled up / And though the ocean did not erupt / Turned up til’ it’s loud enough / To just make something out of us / Past the shadow of a doubt in us / Godly geometry and calculus / That I can move any mountain with, you gotta be an alchemist / Trying to create another avenue of revenue / Or several, ’cause I’m in love with havin’ you / Security is just a whole ‘nother animal,” he spits, with singing vocals serving as a background instrument.
It’s seemingly a love song, under great stress. “So if you capture the flame / And it’s painful, you just charge that to the game / It’s shameful, to just fall back and complain / That you fractured the laws of attraction again / Focus on the more passionate plane / No conception is immaculate, mane.” Thought’s message is one of perseverance through the hardest of times, in search of happiness, love, and peace, in an imperfect world. For an MC who waited more than 25 years to make a solo works (let alone two), the premise has potency and personality.
After the chorus, Thought returns to rapping. “Once again to the well I went,” he begins. “Trying to decode the meaning of the spell I’m in / And I don’t even know what f*ckin’ hotel I’m in / I checked in as the monarch of melanin / The elephant, my body is the shell I’m in / Holdin’ myself together, teachin’ myself to never one loss divorce my development / Ego trippin’ like Nikki Giovanni / Wishin’ the system might deliver me a body.” At the close of the second verse, he returns to the bridge condemning self-pity and quitting.
The song features additional singing from Reek Ruffin, who sings after Thought’s exceptional verse. There are several Black Thought videos, including interviews, available on AFH TV.
#BonusBeat: The music video, directed by Morian Thomas: