Black Thought

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About Black Thought

With an unparalleled combination of wordplay wizardry, inhuman breath control, and indelible mic presence, Black Thought has been your favorite rapper's favorite rapper since the early 1990s. Tariq Trotter—born in Philadelphia in 1971 to two members of the Nation of Islam—lost his father to murder while he was in high school. But he soon met drummer Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson and formed The Roots with other musicians in the late 1980s. The Roots were one of the first full bands in hip-hop, bringing live, improvisational instrumentation to the jazzy, soulful rap ushered in by acts like A Tribe Called Quest. But their artistic merit went beyond aesthetics: Albums like 1999's Things Fall Apart and 2006's Game Theory saw Black Thought evolve as an MC with more dynamic, colorful storytelling and insightful societal observations. With their eclectic-sounding studio albums, electrifying live shows, and ability to back up stars like Jay-Z on his Unplugged album, The Roots spent the '90s and 2000s building a reputation as one of hip-hop's most treasured gems and Thought as one of its most brilliant lyricists. When The Roots became the house band for late-night talk-show host Jimmy Fallon in 2009, the move indicated how an act seemingly destined for only underground success could reach mainstream heights. Black Thought has since continued to stretch his skills, delivering a legendary freestyle for Funkmaster Flex and releasing a string of EPs titled Streams of Thought, each volume with a different producer: 9th Wonder, Salaam Remi, and Sean C., respectively. With a steady TV gig as a 9-to-5, boundless creativity on wax, and undeniable adoration from his colleagues, Black Thought has solidified his place in the hip-hop hall of fame.

Philadelphia, PA, United States
October 3, 1971

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