Is there anything Black Thought can't do?
After dropping a ten-minute-straight freestyle on Funkmaster Flex, Black Thought caused fans of lyrical hip-hop to look to the sky whilst rapturously weeping. The clip amassed two million views in a mere two weeks, and the viral session proved exactly why Black Thought epitomizes your favorite rapper's favorite rapper. The freestyle even landed Black Thought an interview on Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show, where he performs regularly as part of the house band. If you haven't yet caught Black Thought's trending freestyle, get on that - it's worth it for the Funk Flex faces alone. Now, Black Thought has continued to build off the clip's momentum, and recently sat down with Rolling Stone for a detailed interview, including some interesting takes on hip-hop's current landscape.
When asked about the freestyle, Black Thought explained that he felt a responsibility to hold it down for his contemporaries, stating:
"We're at a point in history where lyricism almost comes last in very many regards. So for someone from my school, who has come from the ilk of lyricism being held in far higher regard, it brings a different sort of urgency to every performance. That's what I went into that Flex freestyle with, with that same urgency that I had when I was a young person coming to New York from Philly with very much to prove."
Naturally, the conversation gravitated toward the other side of the dichotomy: "mumble rap." Over the course of Black Thought's freestyle, he spit a line that raised a few eyebrows, rapping "can't explain what these lame kids are talkin' 'bout." Naturally, many felt that was a commentary on hip-hop's current climate, and Black Thought delivered a few interesting thoughts on "mumble rap" - a genre which he proclaims to have invented:
Lots of people are saying that I shut down mumble rap in one 10-minute setting. But that wasn't my intention, because mumble rap – if we go back – that's something I invented. I invented rapping without actually using the words. … [W]ith songs like "Don't Say Nuthin'," freestyles like "New Year's At Jay Dee's," I essentially invented mumble rap, where you go for many bars without saying any words.
While the idea of Black Thought inventing "mumble rap" is at once surreal and hilarious, he might be on to something. Any skeptics should "Don't Say Nuthin." For more from Black Thought, including how he prepares for such a lengthy session, check out the full interview here.