Back in April, legendary
The Roots emcee Black Thought joined NPR’s latest Tiny Desk Concert installment sequestered in his home studio to premiere some new work. Not only did he debut a song from his upcoming off-Broadway musical Black No More adapted from a 1931 Harlem Renaissance novel by George S. Schuyler, but the veteran also announced his upcoming solo effort Streams of Thought, Vol. 3: Cane and Abel due out later this month.
Over the weekend Thought dropped a 7-minute companion video to his first single, “Thought vs Everybody” that delves 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. The camera winds through concert halls and public housing, cutting in archival footage of civil rights movements throughout the decades with today’s Black Lives Matter protests throughout America’s cities. The short also features vocal snippets from activist Angela Davis on race and violence.
True to form, Black Thought’s verses are complex, rapid-fire and full of gems. He raps, ” Everybody goddamn first world problem/ The truth is inconvenient as non-believers/ Fearing DACA dreamers instead of FEMA/ Bentley, Benz or a Beamer, Fiji or Aquafina.” He rounds out the track with, “That ain’t the photo they showed us, or acceptin’ the onus/ Did they Washington us? My condolence to y’all diplomas/ Here’s a bonus, the point of view to make things see through/ If I’m a walking institution, I’m a HBCU/ Face the music, keepin’ it moving’s one of the great things we do.”
Watch “Thought vs Everybody – The Visual Reckoning” above. Streams of Thought, Vol. 3: Cane and Abel arrives July 31 featuring production from Sean C with guest spots by Swizz Beatz, Pusha-T, Schoolboy Q and more.