Black Thought Freestyles Over Benny’s Beat & Butchers It

Earlier this month, West Philadelphia played host to the 20th Roots Picnic. There, The Roots crew shared the stage with Mary J. Blige and welcomed artists including DJ Jazzy Jeff & Rakim, Freddie Gibbs, Masego, Babyface Ray, and others to their two-day event. On Saturday (June 4), Black Thought and J. Period maintained their “Live Mixtape” tradition with a performance that involved Rick Ross, Pharoahe Monch, dead prez, Benny The Butcher, and more.

Black Thought, one of the most elite freestyle MCs, did just that. Sharing the stage with Benny, Tariq Trotter used The Butcher’s 2022 monster “Johnny P’s Caddy” to deliver some blistering bars. Overtop of Alchemist production, Black Thought spits, “Right or wrong, moving right along / It’s a higher form, of convo’ / With the gods that I may dialogue with / You hear the voice of the announcer signing off,” before “They all relative / In a way, I’m Ralph McDaniels meets Ralph Ellison / The fine art is elegant, beats is heaven-sent / Official intelligence, presented to you by the stopper / Tell the cops it’s too late to talk to me proper / Them South Philly boys is who offed Jimmy Hoffa / What hangs in the balance for the talented Mr. Trotter?

Black Thought & Method Man Go Verse For Verse In A Freestyle For The Ages (Video)

Benny nods along as his “Crown For Kings” collaborator borrows his beat. “It’s about time we held history liable for survival,” he spits after a dazzling sequence of rhymes. J. Period drops out the beat and lets Black Thought command the microphone for the dozens of thousands in attendance at the Mann Center. “I give a f*ck about Confederate flags / I got a heart more darker than America’s past / My bars part Kris Parker, part Malik Shabazz,” touts of the best MCs, alive or dead.

Last week, Black Thought teamed with Joey Bada$$, Russ, and Dylan Cartlidge for “Because,” the second single from the upcoming Cheat Code album—produced entirely by Danger Mouse. In May, they debuted “No Gold Teeth.”

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#BonusBeat: Black Thought and Benny The Butcher are both prominently featured on the current iteration of the official Ambrosia For Heads playlist: