Black Thought teams up with Adrian Younge for new single “Noir”

Black Thought | photo courtesy of the artist

Philly rapper Black Thought stepped into the spotlight in a big way in 2018. After 25 years at the front of local hip-hop icons The Roots, Thought released his long-awaited solo debut in two parts: Streams of Thought was split up into two EP releases, with Volume 1 dropping in the spring just ahead of the Roots Picnic, and Volume 2 hitting later in the fall.

Now we’ve got a even newer track from him: “Noir” was released today as an Amazon Music exclusive for the Produced By series, which paris artists with prominent producers to work on a new exclusive cut. “Noir” finds Thought teamed up with Los Angeles composer Adrian Younge, who has worked on tracks for Wu-Tang Clan, Common, Gallant, Kendrick Lamar…but not with Thought or The Roots prior to this.

Based in Cali, Younge’s style is very classic and cinematic, and we hear that in the song, which is built around sweeping string arrangements, complex rhythms, and atmospheric woodwind harmonies…with an appropriate amount of scratching. Continue reading →


Black Thought’s appearance on What’s Good With Stretch and Bobbito is full of quoteables

Black Thought’s Live Mixtape | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

You know that Black Thought is going to be in rare form when you hear him laughing off an archival performance from 1994: “and in today’s episode of Cringeworthy…”

It was actually from an old episode of NYC hip-hop radio pioneers Stretch and Bobbito’s old call-in show, The Roots’ first radio appearance with the duo back in the day, and for 47 minutes on their current NPR podcast What’s Good, The Roots frontman talks about how hip-hop saved him, how Philly shaped him, and how he continues to challenge himself 30+ years into his career. Continue reading →


Watch Black Thought pay tribute to Trayvon Martin in “Rest In Power”

still from video
Black Thought | still from video

We’ve all come to know the potential of Black Thought‘s lyricism. From The Roots’ 1993 debut to his own monumental Hot 97 freestyle late last year, the Philly-born rapper has displayed multisyllabic rhyme schemes, complex lyricism, and politically aware themes throughout his entire career. Black Thought’s latest track is no exception.

“Rest In Power” is set to appear on Paramount’s new docuseries, Rest In Power: The Trayvon Martin Story. The music video overlaps shots from the series with Black Thought rapping in a palatial hall, with pictures of Trayvon’s life flashing on the walls. Emotionally moving clips of Black Lives Matter marches, Trayvon and his parents, and blood on the flag accompany Black Thought’s rhymes elsewhere in the video. Continue reading →


Watch Black Thought’s appearance at the Tiny Desk with Mumu Fresh

Black Thought and Mumu Fresh | photo by Morgan Noelle Smith | via

A familiar local face appears towards the end of NPR Music’s latest Tiny Desk Concert, featuring Baltimore singer Mumu Fresh. With over a half dozen musicians packed behind the desk to back Mumu, the singer and emcee pauses during the middle of her third and final song, “Say My Name,” to introduce none other than The Roots’ founding member Black Thought. Continue reading →


Black Thought will drop a new mixtape on Roots Picnic eve

The Roots and Pharrell at The Roots Picnic | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

The Roots’ founding member Black Thought announced the release date for his upcoming mixtape after teasing the project earlier this year. Titled Streams of Thought Vol. 1, the mixtape drops Friday June 1, conveniently the day before the Roots Picnic. Announced via twitter Friday, the tape is set to be a collab between Black Thought and super producer 9th Wonder and The Soul Council.

The Roots hold court at their annual picnic, headlining their historically star-studded “Jam Session” which previously included stars such as Pharrell, Erykah Badu, Usher, Snoop Dogg, and, this year, Dave Chappelle. Black Thought also appears billed separately on the lineup, bringing back his live mixtape set with J. Period while sharing the stage with Fabolous and Jadakiss. (Maybe the set will see the debut of songs off Streams of Thought.) Continue reading →


Listen to a new track from ADaD that features Black Thought, Yaw, and Khari Lemuel

roots picnic
Black Thought of The Roots | Photo by John Vettese

Not too long ago, we shared a new song from Black Thought called “Making A Murderer.” The Philly MC and frontman of The Roots showed up again on our feed, this time spitting a verse on a track by Chicago rapper/producer ADaD. 

The song, “Holdin’ On”, also features Yaw and Khari Lemuel and was produced by Tensei. The smooth jam contains bits of soul, funk, and references Stevie Wonder’s “Songs In The Key Of Life.” Continue reading →


Black Thought drops a long-awaited solo jam, “Making a Murderer”

roots picnic
The Roots | Photo by John Vettese

After alluding to having some tracks ready and waiting in the wings, Black Thought shared a new song called “Making a Murderer” last week via Ambrosia for Heads. The recording features New York rapper Styles P with production by 9th Wonder. The Philadelphia native underlines his status as a premiere MC over a chaotic bed of horn and percussive samples, name dropping everyone from Cecil B DeMille to Mario Batali.

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Listen to new Freddie Gibbs song featuring Black Thought, “Extradite”

We’re digging what we’re hearing so far from a new mixtape by rapper Freddie Gibbs. Shadow Of A Doubt is out on November 20th, and features collaborations with ManMan Savage, Dana Williams, Tory Lanez, Gucci Mane and E-40, and Black Thought of The Roots. Today, Gibbs shared two new songs from the project, including the track with Black Thought, “Extradite.” Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Avid Dancer at Chameleon Club, Steve Gunn at Boot & Saddle, Black Thought at The TLA

Avid Dancer
Avid Dancer | photo via Facebook

Avid Dancer opens for Delta Spirit at the Chameleon Club in Lancaster, PA tonight. This is a case of the band name perfectly matching the mood of the music, as Avid Dancer’s shimmering indie pop songs are dance floor ready. The LA project of Jacob Summers released a handful of songs on last year’s I Want to See You Dance EP, including the mellow “Stop Playing With My Heart” and the retro-sounding title track. Check out the video for that song below and pick up tickets for tonight’s 18+ show here.

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Mural Arts Program to unveil new ASpire mural on Saturday

ASpire mural at 21st and Ellsworth Streets | photo via

On Saturday, November 1st the Mural Arts Program will unveil a new mural at 21st and Ellsworth Streets.  The art piece, created by Ernel Martinez, is called ASpire and is dedicated to the late Dr. Shawn L. White.  The event will bring Mural Arts Month to a close with a street festival featuring music, food and vendors while honoring one of the cities most devoted activists.

UPDATE: Due to the rainy weather predicted for November 1, the ASpire mural dedication has been postponed. Mural Arts hope’s you can join them on Saturday, November 8.

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