Who is Black Thought?
You may have heard of “The Roots”, Philadelphia’s most popular hip hop band. They are and have been Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show band for the past nine years. Well, on December 14th of last year, one of the members, Black Thought, performed one of the best freestyles in rap history. With it being over 2000 words, and 10 minutes long, it was a sight to behold. It was very influential, with it starting a conversation about the importance of lyricism in hip hop, the current generation of hip hop, and many other topics mentioned in the freestyle. Well, this article is for me to mention the thoughts of this freestyle through the eyes of the new generation, centennials.
How is Black Thought Different?
In my opinion, this is one of the best things that I have heard in my life. One of the main things that got me were the lyrics. I don’t know why, but it seems like today, compared to older rap, rappers really want to focus on the beats of their song. Future, for example, you really can’t understand what he’s saying because of his rap style. And when you do, he is talking about drugs or killing people. I really don’t like that. How rappers rap about the same thing in all their songs and they really don’t bring anything new to the table. Another example of this is Lil Pump, who is abysmal at making music. In The Rap Critic’s critique of Lil Pump’s newest song, Gucci Gang, he points out how Lil Pump has the same formula for his songs. Saying the same word or phrase for about 2/3rd’s of the song, and then he raps random things that don’t even relate to what the song is about. Here it is.
Black Thought shows that lyricism is really important in hip hop, and that using the many different literary devices like symbolism, metaphors, and allusions can be great, wanting people to actually hear what you are saying, without the beat being amazing. I hope that this freestyle influences different rappers to want to change their style, and improve what they are doing, instead of making the same content over and over again with different lyrics. Other than that, this freestyle opened me up, and should open other young rap fans up to the awesomeness of The Roots.