Black Thought Is Continuing His Run With A New Joint Album
In 2022, Black Thought of The Roots teamed with fellow Grammy Award-winner Danger Mouse to release Cheat Codes. The album, named one of the year’s best by Ambrosia For Heads, featured Raekwon, MF DOOM, Run The Jewels, A$AP Rocky, Joey Bada$$, and many more. The LP marked the fourth album between Thought and another producer since 2018. In those four years, The Roots MC did ventures with 9th Wonder, Salaam Remi, and Sean C. & LV. Last year, he also remixed an EP with Afrobeat sensation Seun Kuti, son of Fela Kuti.
For 2023, Black Thought is showing no signs of slowing down. Today (January 11), it was announced that Tariq Trotter is teaming up with the El Michels Affair for Glorious Game. That LP will arrive on April 14, via Leon Michels’ and Danny Akalepse’s Big Crown Records. Michels provides tenor saxophone, flute, keyboards, guitar, bass, percussion, and engineering to the Brooklyn, New York-based group that features Homer Steinweiss, Nick Movshon, Thomas Brenneck, and others.
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With the announcement, Black Thought and El released “Grateful.” “One for the will of man, two for the kilogram / Three for the cold killer who could still be a millionaire / Fillin’ the Frigidaire, big plates and silverware / Where everybody eat, except the one who was ill-prepared / Due to circumstances, no more / We was raised by wolves, grizzly bears, and panthers / It’s wild, yo, I’m surprised we ain’t grow no antlers / Your whole house is f*cked like Jojo Dancer’s,” raps the South Philly legend over hazy and sinister sounds.
Previously, El Michels Affair dropped 2009’s acclaimed Enter The 37th Chamber, which was a live band homage to Wu-Tang Clan and their classic 1993 debut. In 2017, they returned with a Wu-inspired sequel. Michels is a founding member of soul and funk bands Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Menahan Street Band, and Lee Fields & The Expressions, in addition to touring work with The Black Keys. The group has directly collaborated with Raekwon as well as Freddie Gibbs and Madlib—who they joined for an NPR Tiny Desk concert.
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As a producer, Leon Michels boasts credits for Gibbs, Aesop Rock, Aloe Blacc, and Mary J. Blige’s Grammy-nominated Good Morning Gorgeous. He and partner Jeff Dynamite produced Aloe’s 2010 hit “I Need A Dollar.” His work has been by sampled by JAY-Z, J. Cole, Ghostface Killah, Rick Ross, and more.
Last month, on an episode of Questlove Supreme, the show’s namesake promised a new Roots album will be completed by March of this year. End Game, long in the works, will be the band’s first drop since 2014’s …and Then You Shoot Your Cousin.
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#BonusBeat: Black Thought tells AFH about how hard artists would go to get fresh J Dilla beats: