I Can't Call It:Streams of Thought Vol. 1 - Black Thought

Posted On Tuesday, June 5, 2018

There are very few things that I have been waiting 20+ years for but one of the things at the top of that list is a Black  Thought solo album. I almost thought we were gonna get it with "Masterpiece Theater" back in '01 but the album ended up being scrapped & a lot of those songs ended up making The Root's "Phrenology" album. And at the time I wasn't even mad it got scrapped since I didn't fuck with "Phrenology" like that. And even though the Roots have released 7 more studio albums since "Phrenology" I've always wanted to hear Thought over some straight up and down boom bap and I don't get that from the Roots anymore. In fact, I said on an ep of my podcast Apt. 5B that I didn't want anybody even close to the studio who knew how to read music or play an instrument. I only wanted cats who know how to program MP's, SP's and Maschines. So when word got to ear that we were FINALLY gonna get the dolo Thought album I was hype as hell! That is, til I found out it was being produced by 9th Wonder. Now, one of the biggest misconceptions about me is that I don't  like 9th's production and nothing could be further from the truth. I think 9th is dope. Just not dope enough to be on folk's Mt. Rushmore of producers & on shirts that say things like "Primo, Pete,  Dilla & 9th." Now, that's not 9th fault and again, I got nothing against the brother but ummm....I would've mos def preferred a  Jake One, Alchemist, Nottz...hell, even a Dilla produced Thought album! (I personally have over 120 Dilla beats no one ever heard so I KNOW Quest gotta have 1,000's more) But at the end of the day it is what it is and I guess I can't  look a gift horse in the mouth right? So let's see what this "Streams of  Thought Vol. 1" is hittin' foe.

"Streams of Thought" sets off with "Twofifteen" and has Thought keeping the party going from him tearing down Hot 97 with 72 straight bars, "the big wheel keep turnin' like Ikes and Anna Maes, the church kitchen hustle dinners every Saturday/pull over let me grab a plate, I tend to gravitate/towards how fish dinners from a styrofoam platter taste, my granddaddy sported a plaid Donny Hathaway/ hustlin' for everything we had, 'til he passed away, when I would ask about what path to take/he used to laugh and say, no man is an island but I'm a castaway/casualties I seen 'em like the French Foreign Legion/on the streets, they used to carry out bizzare procedures/in jean jackets and Jabbar, Adidas, back when local R&B was just as soulful as orthopedics. "9th vs. Thought" picks up right where "Twofifteen" left out with Thought still spittin', "I'm not a typical arrogant American on prescribe medicine I'm sick as I ever been rulin' out of the dealership and the McLaren, these rappers is Peter Pan, I'm pan-African/space invader black and nem Mixin' Alexander McQueen with Haider Ackermann/real rapture in the form of a living man I don't give a damn, not a mortal could test me/ see I don't get examed I'm a high priest and and a wild beast, once warrior now chief, the mouth piece of the far East" while "Dostoyevsky" brings NC's finest Rhapsody into the mix to trade bars with Thought. Last years's "Making of A Murderer" featuring Styles P makes an appearance and "Streams..." ends with my fave track the Khrysis produced "Thank You" which freaks D'Angelo's "Charade" & has Thought saying saluting folk in his life, "thanks for the memories, for 1st and 3rd of the month check deliveries/agencies in the early 80's for givin' cheese, the families with parents who had drug dependencies/dinner from the chicken lady, Miss Genevieve, for every lesson I received as I live and breathe/and all the blessings I believed in and been achieved/ thanks to my moms for never gettin' rid of me, and to my lady baby thank you for forgivin' me."

So, is "Stream of Thoughts" everything I've was waiting 20 years for? Nah...not close at all. But that doesn't mean it's not dope. One of my biggest beefs with "Streams..." is that it's just boring. Now don't get it twisted, boring doesn't equal wack. Hell, Tim Duncan may very well be the greatest power forward in the history of the NBA but he's boring as FUCK! And after waiting 20 years for an album I would think a MC of Thought's caliber would've put more time and effort into making this worth the 20 year wait. Now of course I have no idea how this whole project came together but it sounds like 9th played some beats (which were boring too BTW) and Thought wrote some rhymes and viola! But the problem is you gotta give me more then that for something I've been waiting 20 years for. One of my biggest knocks on Thought is unless he's rhyming about a girl (Silent Treatment, Hypnotic, You Got Me & Break U Off) he's just spitting. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. But for me at 44, I want more then 2,046 bars of lyrical fury. Look at Royce's latest album "Book of Ryan," there's bars, stories of him reminiscing on his childhood, him speaking on his father's abuse and his addictions and the bars are still there. Look at Phonte's "No News Is Good News," there's bars, rhymes about dealing with health, burying his father, raising his sons, getting remarried, all while still spitting. To be honest, Thought could REALLY take a page out of Royce and Phonte's book when it's time for "Streams of Thoughts Vol. 2" if it wants to hold fort in my rotation.

3 outta 5 mics

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