Black Thought & Joey Bada$$’s Song Is A Hip-Hop Cheat Code

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Hip-Hop Heads have over two more months to wait for Black Thought & Danger Mouse’s anticipated Cheat Codes album (August 12). However, the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania MC and the Providence, Rhode Island producer are feeding the masses with the second single from their upcoming LP. Following May’s “No Gold Teeth,” “Because” is another dazzling display of lyricism over a dope beat reminiscent of Danger Mouse’s 2010s work with Broken Bells. This time, it features a guest list including Joey Bada$$, Russ, and singer Dylan Cartlidge.

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I’m from where too many lives 25 years or fewer / Nothing we receive is brand new, it’s just newer / While brothers drop down to their knees and make dua / Popsicle sticks raced down the curb into the sewer / The next American hangman sketched in crayon / Gangland all a façade, the truth persuade all / Killin’ birds with one stone is what we stay on / Wingspan never too wide for you to fray on / The ways never cease to amaze or inspire / Illiterate, the signatures been forged the fire / Broken spirit, some assembly required / It confirmed the door of no return at Elmina / Screamin’ into the ocean for emotional support / We never won awards, we was boards of the court / Puttin’ swords to umbilical cords to cut ’em short / Translation, vacation is at a last resort,” kicks Tariq Trotter. Despite sharing the moment with two respected Rap peers, Black Thought takes the second verse too. “We took shoestrings, lemon drops and chips from the deli / Knocked ’em out the box with spinner tops and skelly / ‘Do it, you’ll get to it,’ what Mr. Womack would tell me / I was locked, my celly read Niccolò Machiavelli / This inheritance was negative, marriage is the devil’s piss / State’s evidence, give us anything instead of this drama / In the mirror like Yayoi Kusama / Had me turn into Muhammad, to Buddha, to Dalai Lama / If I would snatch a shoulder bag from somebody mama / Am I cancerous? Can’t discuss what the short answer was / Hungriest ones take the money and run / Sometimes simultaneously taking one of your lungs / What I mean is, I’ve seen everything that’s under the sun,” he spits.

Joey Bada$$ raps next, matching Tariq’s lens and approach. “I was on 34 cruisin’ through Medina / I was just a Neo ‘fore I had the nina / I had the snapback with the t-shirt / Practicin’ my ollie, I could hardly get my feet up / Had to hit the staircase just to roll the reefer, uh / Now I’m smokin’ big Cohibas out in Costa Rica like Portofin.” Joey is a week away from following up his breakthrough 1999 mixtape with a thematic album, 2000. He then finishes strong: “Me and Quan gettin’ stopped and frisked by Hutch and Starsky / They was lookin’ for hard drugs in our movie / Mama told me not to let that sh*t bother me / Poppa said to move cautiously / So the streets would never father me / But you don’t know that part of me.

Joey Bada$$’s Next Album Is A Sequel To His Classic Mixtape

Russ also pays close attention to Black Thought’s message and diction. “I know somethin’ slightly off with me, drama is therapeutic / Ego hates feeling futile, sometime I move without scruples / Like havin’ Mrs. Perfect with me and still chasin’ approval / From other women, I’m a glutton, I can’t run from who I become / Dad’s around the corner, haven’t seen him in like three months / We don’t speak much, I don’t handle balance well, got a fragile shell / My money split the king and queen up, then the castle fell / The tension in the air is still crisp / Sometimes I wish this game was over like I’m Lil’ Flip / Sometimes I’m wishing that my brain came with a killswitch / I don’t vacation, dawg, I guilt trip, real sh*t.” The last may be the hardest from the New Jersey MC/producer.

The AFH playlist features another Black Thought & Danger Mouse song, as well as other tracks by Joey Bada$$ and Russ. Last year, AFH named Russ’ Chomp 2 (which featured Joey) among the best albums of 2021.

Russ Releases A Late Contender For Rap Album Of The Year

#BonusBeat: Black Thought tells Ambrosia For Heads about how hard artists would go to get fresh J Dilla beats: