Black Thought returns with his long-awaited new solo project Streams of Thought, Vol. 3: Cane and Abel, a journey centered around America’s violent history, through pain and privilege and more. It’s the perfect companion piece to score a year defined by civil unrest and the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic with social justice concepts presented in a way only one of the best lyricists in hip-hop history can.
“Magnificent” frames a failing relationship through the lens of social media addiction and the distance screens provide. “Steak Um” features a moving intro originally found in Dave Chappelle‘s recent stand-up special with a fantastic guest spot from ScHoolboy Q. On “Good Morning”, an all-star cast consisting of Pusha T, Swizz Beatz and Killer Mike offers the introspection only veteran emcees of their caliber can provide (plus some triumphant production from Swizz Beatz doesn’t hurt.)
While the project is fitting of the current moment in history given the Black Lives Matter movements throughout America and the world at large, Black Thought revealed that he didn’t take direct inspiration from the present day. “This collection is on par with previous volumes and later volumes of Streams of Thought as to what I talk about, what I speak to… I cover a broad range of subject matter, but it’s always coming from the same place. It’s reflective of the moment, but not solely in the moment,” he told Variety. “It might sound ambitious to want to create a timeless classic, but that is always in my muscle memory, a challenge I rise to with different producers every time out. Some of this stuff was recorded before March and since that time became more timely.”
Streams of Thought, Vol. 3: Cane and Abel was originally slated to release back in July 10 but was hit with multiple delays due to the COVID-19 crisis. The wait has proven to be well worth it as Black Thought offered up one of the year’s most meditative and well-rounded efforts. He kicked off the roll-out cycle by premiering songs through his NPR Tiny Desk (Home) Concert performance. Thought then debuted his seven-minute “Thought vs Everybody” short film that delved into America’s lengthy history of systemic racism, political unrest and need for social justice reform. Dubbed “The Visual Reckoning,” the short film was directed by Rodney Passé.
Listen to Streams of Thought, Vol. 3: Cane and Abel below. In more music releases this week, Benny The Butcher delivered his latest album Burden of Proof.