Styles P Explains Why Black Thought Is The Most Dangerous MC Alive
Earlier this year, Black Thought and Styles P’s remarkable collaboration finally found a project to belong to. At the top of June, The Roots’ front-man joined 9th Wonder & The Soul Council for Streams Of Thought, Vol. 1. Heads did not know it two years earlier when “Making Of A Murderer” (embedded below) released, but the epic collaboration was the first taste of Thought’s would-be solo debut.
Styles P and Black Thought go back more than a decade. In 2007, Tariq Trotter appeared on the introspective Super Gangster (Extraordinary Gentleman) closer “Cause I’m Black.” Months later, the LOX co-founder was on the title track single (alongside Mos Def and Dice Raw) to The Roots’ ominous Rising Down. The two have maintained their bond, with Styles swinging through recent Roots Picnics in Philadelphia, and bringing his cohorts with him right up into this year’s release.
Styles was a recent guest on the Rap Radar Podcast with Elliott Wilson and Brian “B.Dot” Miller. At the 19:00 mark of the interview, he spoke about why his collaborator is so lethal on the microphone. The conversation makes a segue as the hosts joke that Holiday Styles had sent a shot to B.Dot on a recent freestyle, over the journalist’s ranking of Bad Boy Records’s all-time roster. The guest says that Miller was not the target. “[It was not] so much [aimed] at you. ‘Cause, you know, I’m an egotistical prick sometimes. [I am] trying to get a balance. I’m pretty cool; I think I’m one of the [coolest], down to earth, humble MCs you could meet. But I’m egotistical when it comes to my craft. I’m a very cocky dude. I personally think that Biggie was better than me. The buck stops there with me,” he touts, before acknowledging that the 1980s class of MCs, like Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap, Rakim and KRS-One, belong in a different bracket.
“I would never say I’m better than those [MCs]; I don’t compare myself to them, ’cause there’s no me without them. Those are the forefathers of what I do. But I would never sit here and tell you that I think anybody else from the mid-’90s to now is better than me lyrically. I just honestly, in my heart, don’t believe that. And I don’t knock you if you do believe that as a person. But for somebody that thinks that I’m not in the race, you gotta check my track record. Look at who I rhymed with!” This in response to B.Dot’s rating of Biggie, then Jadakiss, then Ma$e for his Bad Boy top-three. He provides that list later on.
That part of the podcast discussion leads the Yonkers, New Yorker to highlight one collaborator in particular. “I’m an MC; nobody asks me who I think is the most dangerous MC out right now. For me, personally, the most dangerous MC—and to get on a track with him is like…you gotta wake up, you gotta read a book, you gotta watch film, you gotta stretch, you gotta think, you gotta eat fruit, you gotta jog, you gotta do everything, ’cause he’s Jedi level. He’s like the Jedi of the Jedi.”
Styles asks the hosts who they think fits that description. Miller says Drake, Kendrick Lamar, and J. Cole, the “three-headed monster” of the moment. Styles acknowledges each as a modern Jedi, but says that’s not who he is referring to. “Black Thought is ultimate Jedi. He’s dangerous. I’m talkin’ about bars—just raw. He’s born-bars. Like, I’m born-bars…I’m a bar machine…his content and where he goes is just so far out there that you have to be so smart [to appreciate it]; I think the average person may not even understand what they’re hearing when they hear him.” P continues, “[Black Thought’s rapping seems] so effortless. That’s what makes him so dangerous. Royce [5’9] is very dangerous too. He’s very poisonous right now…I think there’s always times in Rap where there’s somebody very dangerous [where the peers recognize it] and don’t want to give kudos and [acknowledge it].” Styles P is unafraid to salute his peers, while still holding his own place in the game.
Black Thought’s second album of the year, Streams Of Thought, Vol. 2: Traxploitation was recently named one of Ambrosia For Heads‘ Top 15 Albums Of 2018. It is currently in the running for a reader-based tournament to determine the year’s best. Meanwhile, Styles P partnered with Dave East for Beloved. This year, he also dropped Dime Bag and G-Host.
#BonusBeat: Black Thought & Styles P’s “Making Of A Murderer,” produced by 9th Wonder: