After a quarter-century of albums with The Roots, Black Thought expanded into a solo catalog in 2018. That year, he released not one but two projects. the first, Streams Of Thought, Vol. 1, was produced by 9th Wonder. The Grammy-winning Salaam Remi handled the beats on the second volume. In 2020, Tariq Trotter followed with Streams of Thought, Vol. 3: Cane & Ablewith Sean C. & LV behind the boards.
Today (May 11), Black Thought has confirmed his next project and it comes with yet another highly-respected, award-winning producer attached. On August 12, Tariq and Danger Mouse are teaming up for Cheat Codes. The BMG-distributed album features an incredible guest list, including Danger Mouse’s late DangerDOOM partner MF DOOM, Raekwon, Run The Jewels, Joey Bada$$, Conway The Machine, A$AP Rocky, Russ, Michael Kiwanuka, Kid Sister, and Dylan Cartridge.
With the announcement, Black Thought and Danger Mouse released their first single, “No Gold Teeth.” Over a Blues break, Thought begins in motion: “Wind in my face, hound at my heels / At the end I’m winning this race, only then can I chill / But ’till then, don’t ever try to stagnate the magnate / When it’s money on the line, never make the bag wait / I just add weight to the bag until the bag break / That holy swag make the cash get the gas face / In the first place, I got no mothaf*cking business coming in last place / My birthplace taught me not to stop, I’m more advanced than my classmates / I came into the game on a fast-break / And I gang-gang like Billy Bathgate.” In the second verse, he promotes self-worth. “Please, you ain’t f*cking with no amateurs homie / Philly ain’t known for cheesesteak sandwiches only / I’m at the top where it’s lonely / I got everybody mean mugging like Nick Nolte / But nah, I won’t stop, won’t drop, won’t retire / I am my own supplier, selling goods to the buyer / The torch to the higher, the storm that’s on fire / Data translator, each jaunt I’m charting higher / They requested my IG, I replied ‘deny’ / Tell me I’m in the Top 3, they ain’t never lied.” In the closing moments of the song, Black Thought raps: “When it comes to the job getting done, what am I? / The god of the microphone / Praise the lord, if anybody disagree with me then raise your sword.”
In a black-and-white video, Black Thought and Danger Mouse each appear kicking focused bars with obscured views:
Back in late 2020, Black Thought spoke of this collaboration while appearing on HOT 97’s Ebro In The Morning. At the time, the South Philly MC called the LP Dangerous Thoughts. “It’s something that’s probably gonna drop in the middle of all these Streams of Thought volumes; Since it’s something that we began the initial idea maybe 13 or 14 years ago, I don’t consider it to be part of that same series.” Tariq also said, “It’s a return for him to Hip-Hop and to sampling in this way,” referring to Danger Mouse’s work with Adele, The Black Keys, and others. “It’s a feel-good record. It’s a record for people who got into Hip-Hop and sort of evolved at the same period of time that we did. We’re the elder statesmen at this point, so I feel like this record is reflective of that, too.”
Danger Mouse is a six-time Grammy Award-winning producer. After years in the underground scene, the Providence, Rhode Island native garnered attention in 2004 after remixing JAY-Z’s Black Album with The Beatles’ self-titled white double LP to form the coveted Gray Album. Physical copies were circulated before a cease-and-desist halted the underground momentum. Despite the halt, the mixtape made mainstream waves. The Lex Records artist partnered with Goodie Mob alum CeeLo Green to form the Grammy-winning Gnarls Barkley duo, launching both veterans into the pop culture space. By the mid-2000s, the man born Brian Burton was working with MF DOOM, Gorillaz, Beck, and The Black Keys.
#BonusBeat: Black Thought tells Ambrosia For Heads about how hard artists would go to get fresh J Dilla beats: