Micro-Chopping Black Thought: A 69-Track Playlist of Microphone Mastery
On December 14th, 2017, Black Thought walked into Ciroc Studios to make an appearance on Funkmaster Flex’s show and drop a quick freestyle. The 10 minute lyrical barrage that happened next left the internet in a frenzy and will likely be a topic of discussion on music website for weeks to come. If there was any doubt that Black Thought deserves to be in a conversation with the all-time greatest MCs, those doubts should now be eradicated.
A quick sampling of Thought’s microphone melting performance includes lines like, “I strike fear in the hearts of rap figures/Who mind bear the stigmas of time, no black privilege/From boom bap n****s to trap n****s/You in the trap with us, when the lines is as/Vivid as the walls on the graph/Autographed by the Lord of Wrath/I reside between the seconds on the chronograph/How much more CB4 can we afford?/It’s like a Shariah Law on ‘My Cherie Amour’.”
The lines from above are just one of many quotable sections from his epic performance. Hell, every single line is quotable. And while his lyricism, wordplay, and vocabulary all deserve to be applauded, his delivery was equally remarkable. The Philly native hardly seemed to take a breath the entire time and was sweating by the end of his performance.
In an era where many talk about MCing like it’s a dying art, Black Thought put his entire mind, body, and soul into one 10 minute performance. It was a transformative moment — a perfect depiction of rap music in its purest form.
“How much more CB4 can we afford?/It’s like a Shariah Law on ‘My Cherie Amour’.”
Not long after his name started trending on Twitter, Thought took to the platform to address the positive feedback in the humblest terms imaginable. “That verse was just what I had to say at the moment lol,” he said.
As impressive as the Funk Flex freestyle is, Thought’s next level skills shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone familiar with his impressive body of work. He’s been bodying verses on Roots albums and murdering guest appearances since the mid-90s. Unfortunately, when you’re the main MC for a group like The Roots, the props you receive as an individual often get lumped into general praise for the group as a whole.
Though The Roots seems to be getting their much-deserved due these days, the general public still hasn’t quite grasped how remarkable Black Thought is as a standalone MC. It’s a slight his peers within the industry are well aware of. As collaborator Statik Selektah once lamented in a 2014 interview for Rap Is Outta Control, “I honestly will fight this to the death. He is the most underrated MC of all time. He should be in people’s Top 10, Top 5. And no one ever mentions him.”
“That verse was just what I had to say at the moment lol.”
Statik has a valid point. Putting The Roots remarkable catalog aside, Thought has shared the booth with everyone from Common and MF Doom to Raekwon and Big Pun, always standing tall with his equally (if not more) impressive lyrical abilities. And yet, somehow, he still seems to fly under the radar. Hopefully his Funk Flex appearance will change that.
As we continue to dissect and enjoy Black Thought’s legendary freestyle, it seemed appropriate to put together a sampling of his broad track record. This 69-track, five hour long playlist is a testament to the depth and breadth of his recorded output, as it still doesn’t capture the entire scope of his career.
Hopefully listening this playlist will serve as a reminder of Black Thought’s talent for longtime Roots fans while giving newer listeners a point of entry. Enjoy.