Renowned lead singer and legendary MC for GRAMMY Award-winning platinum-certified hip-hop luminaries The Roots, Black Thought continues to unveil his series, Streams of Thought. The lauded bodies of work are each done in collaboration with a critically-acclaimed producer and showcase Thought's unique range. His mission to "elevate hip-hop to high art" is also accomplished through his choice of cover art, as Black Thought works with a Black American visual artist for each series who explores similar themes and concepts found in the new music.
Streams of Thought Vol. 1 Exclusively produced by 9th Wonder [JAY-Z, Kendrick Lamar, Mary J. Blige] and The Soul Council, the five-song set thrives on Black Thought's signature nimble lyricism, artful storytelling, and provocative eloquence. Funk guitars underscore the airtight bars of opener "Two Fifteen," while "9th vs. Thought" pits 9th Wonder's production against Black Thought's instantly quotable lines such as, "I'm not a typical arrogant American on prescribed medicine. I'm sick as I ever been." Rapsody lends her slick cadence to "Dostoyevsky" as "Making a Murderer" unites New York courtesy of Styles P and Philly. Everything culminates on the soulful swing of "Thank You" [feat. KIRBY] where Black Thought recounts his come-up in cinematic fashion.
Vol. 1’s cover art, by Rashid Johnson, features his previously created piece Untitled Anxious Audience. Johnson's work explores memory, family, the collective yet individual black experience. The artwork itself is a visual representation of the music.
Streams of Thought Vol. 2 - Black Thought x Salaam Remi Present Traxploitation Featuring production from Salaam Remi [Nas, Amy Winehouse], the nine-track collection sees Black Thought continue to hone his inimitable and impenetrable improvisation. Conjuring the spirit of classic Motown, Remi's throwback soul sensibility adds another dimension to tracks like "Conception" where Black Thought bobs and weaves between doo-wop corner harmonies and hypnotic horns. The gloves come off, and "Fentanyl" confronts the country's Opioid crisis head-on with lyrical ruminations like, "overdosing just a marketing scheme," as a steady beat simmers. "How to Hold A Choppa" paints a thought-provoking portrait of wisdom to share between a father and son. At the center, "Long Liveth" ignites lyrical fireworks that illuminate his ironclad mic mastery as he declares, "I'm a Pulitzer prize fighter how I vaporize writers." It stands out as a rap master class from the Philadelphia titan.
Once again, Black Thought teamed up with a Black American visual artist for the cover in service of a mission to "elevate hip-hop to high art." This time, he worked with Leslie Hewitt who captured the spirit of the old notebooks, graffiti, and Walkman hip-hop that remain formative to the MC with her artwork.
The piece, Riffs On Real Time (Streams of Thought) by Leslie Hewitt © 2018, evokes a timeless hip-hop energy. In her words, it's "inspired by the lyrical flow of Thought's rhyme schema, movement, power[ful] arts speak to how collage and juxtaposition visual poetry" with "colors that feel lived in" and "70s carpet, 60s Polaroid, and 80s graffiti tagged book binding."
Streams of Thought Vol. 3 -- Black Thought x Sean C: Cane and Able The latest Streams of Thought volume was produced entirely by Sean C (JayZ, Diddy, Pusha T, Joey Badass) and his Grind Music team. The fifteen-track collection sees Black Thought continue to hone his inimitable and impenetrable improvisation. Featuring heavy hitters like Swizz Beats, Portugal The Man, Pusha T, ScHoolboy Q and The Last Artful, Dodgr, the project is already garnering praise from global critics.
Once again, Black Thought teamed up with a Black American visual artist for the cover. This time he worked with Khari Turner who created a stunning portrait inspired by Black Thought which features as the album artwork. Turner's work is a diary of struggle, and the strength needed to overcome it. He explores the history of Black defeat, Black revolutions and Black accomplishments coalescing through mark making, realism and expressionism.