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Is Black Thought The Most Underrated Rapper? Questlove, Tarik & Q-Tip Weigh In

The Roots are kinda like the house band for hip hop,” says Q-Tip, seated in a conference room at the New York offices of LVMH, the luxury brand powerhouse behind Louis Vuitton, Moet, and Hennessy. The former front man of A Tribe Called Quest has worked with The Roots in the past, and now they’re collaborating in a new way—as curators of this September’s Hennessy Artistry Series, choosing musical and visual artists to highlight at a series of live shows through the U.S. in September. “And probably now for like American culture even, The Roots are like the band to go to. They’re like Robbie Robertson or something. They’re like, you know, just a mainstay in it... They always toured and stayed on the road amidst whatever commercial success could have slipped by them, they stayed diligent and they stayed consistent.”

When asked about the Roots’ formidable MC, Black Thought, easily one of the most underrated MCs of his generation, Q-Tip gives maximum respect to his fellow craftsman. “He’s amazing. He reminds me of a G-Rap in that way. He’s definitely a wordsmith. He’s a steady, consistent dude that you can just count on time in and time out to always give that level. He’s definitely dope and people are starting to really sing his praises more and more.”

Thought is blasts gamma rays on The Roots’ latest disc (and Def Jam debut), the critically acclaimed How I Got Over. With The Roots installed as the house band on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, Black Thought continues to share the stage on a nightly basis—but he’s begun stepping out on side projects as well. He is presently in the studio with “The Money Makin’ Jamboys,” a collective of Roots–affiliated spitters that also includes Dice Raw, P.O.R.N., Truck North, Sugar Tongue Slim, and Peedi Crack, and working on an as-yet-untitled mixtape that will be hosted by Don Cannon. When Black Thought previewed a verse on Street Sweeper Radio he blew Kay Slay’s mind.

But fame and hype aren't what motivates Black Thought to do what he does. But after 18 years in the game, the fiercely private MC—who may loathe the press even more than sucka MCs—seems more than ready for some long-overdue props. Here, he and Questlove sit down for an in-depth convo about their early days, TV gig and legacy. —Rob Kenner


 

VIBE: Most reviews of How I Got Over have made much of the fact that the band has been exposed to new kinds of music because of your Late Night gig. But the Roots have always blended different styles of music.

Black Thought: No doubt. But now we can do it that much more. So if we’ve always wanted to work with Herbie Hancock, we can reach out to him to be on the show the show. And we’ve got a studio right there in the NBC building so we can get some work done.

Very clever. Is that how Dear God 2.0 come together? Did you just use M.O.F.’s track or did you do any overdubs?

BT: That began from us having worked with Dirty Projectors and MOF. I did a verse for a remix project that M.O.F. was doing, and it just evolved from there.

So do you choose which musicians play on the show?

BT: It’s not like we have to approve all the artists who are booked, but the people who do the bookings want to know how we feel about backing them. Put it this way, if we say “that would be wack,” they’re not getting booked.

What did you and Questlove see in each other to make you want to work together back at the Philadelphia School for the Arts?

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The Weeknd Throws Around His Pain In New Video For "Until I Bleed Out"

The Weeknd’s new album After Hours arrived last month. Today (April 7), Abel Tesfaye shared the new music video for “Until I Bleed Out,” which is the closing track on the album.

The clip finds The Weeknd at a confetti-covered party in an old movie palace. As he struggles to stand upright amid all the  papier-mache, he finds that the ground is moving in circles.

After Hours follows 2016’s Starboy. Previous visuals from the LP include “Heartless,” “Blinding Lights,” “After Hours” and “In Your Eyes.”

The Weeknd has also shared a deluxe version of the album with three new bonus tracks — “Nothing Compares,” “Missed You” and “Final Lullaby” — as well as four new remixes from Oneohtrix Point Never, Chromatics, the Blaze and DaHeala.

After checking out what fans are tweeting about the video, watch the clip above.

The Until I Bleed Out video feels like an overindulgence of House of Balloons life. With The Weeknd trying to escape it and ultimately running towards a clean slate. pic.twitter.com/qDBNbeyPCE

— mars (@mar1narasauce) April 7, 2020

I can't get my shit together after watching Until I Bleed Out video. this Mv was so sad and heartbreaking.. the talent this man has is UNMATCHED. @theweeknd thank you for another masterpiece. pic.twitter.com/p39ilB3moq

— (@LdrYosemite) April 7, 2020

Alright The Weeknd got my emotions all Fuck up.. my soul hurts with this music video.. Until I Bleed Out is so powerful

— (@__rosae__) April 7, 2020

Until I Bleed Out by The Weeknd make you wanna cry in the shower. Brb pic.twitter.com/nCdhuZqNfv

— Deucalion (@___FRANKO) April 6, 2020

WEEKND i didnt get my xo tat yet but check out my drawing to 'until I bleed out' too... had my in my feels!!! pic.twitter.com/jJucqMKzOs

— Danny Walker (@skywalksxo) April 2, 2020

Watch the video above.

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Justin Timberlake And Anderson .Paak Annoy Anna Kendrick In Funny "Don't Slack" Video

Justin Timberlake and Anderson .Paak have shared the music video for "Don’t Slack,", their latest collaboration from the Trolls: World Tour soundtrack.

Featuring Anna Kendrick, the clip sees the Pitch Perfect star getting her day started inside of her home, when .Paak suddenly starts singing in the shower.

In an effort to escape .Paak's crooning, Kendrick is met in the hallway by a dancing Timberlake.  Kendrick's eventually relents after bumping into the pair at various locations throughout her house.

The pair sing on the track: “The Okay, now don’t slack, I need all my racks, No, we don’t hold back, Act like you know that, Go tell your old man, Go get your whole fam’, Fly like the ghost man, Taking all I can.”

This video comes after Trolls: World Tour arrived on PPV yesterday (April 6), having been forced to shelve its cinema release as a result of COVID-19.

Speaking to Zane Lowe on his Apple Music Beats 1 show, Timberlake previously said of the collaboration: “I hope he [Paak] doesn’t mind that I’m gonna say this right now, but we talked about a possible joint project. We talked about it, but yeah, he’s a busy man, too.

“I told him as well, I was like, ‘You need to enjoy your moment, bro.’ He played me new stuff the other day. That dude is so gifted. He’s so good.”

Watch the video above.

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Premiere: TOBi's Self-Isolation Pulsates With Creative Force In "Growth" Video

Art aligns with the times and no one has demonstrated this other than TOBi. The rapper-singer embarks on a journey of self-reflection and then some in his new video for "Growth."

Produced by ClayJay, iLLMIND and Nate Smith, the track is the opener for his debut album STILL and fits the tone of the times. Originally inspired by time growing up in Nigeria and Canada, the video takes us on a journey with TOBi as he derives elements of growth and wonder with dirt and broken glass.

“I gave myself a pat on the back when I wrote ‘Growth,'" TOBi tells VIBE. "I’m proud to be this candid about life, just like my favorite artists. It really is exponential growth in terms of the quality of my mind and my intentions. Look how far we came from deficit to baseline to surplus. I left a powerful affirmation at the end of the song, by saying ‘bigger and better now.’ Like Ace Boogie says, now we just gotta maintain."

There's rain, tears and then some scattered in the visuals, all connecting to TOBi's creative take on masculinity. "I call this s**t post-traumatic growth/Out of Hell, free to go/Send a shout, I propose a toast," he says in the song opener.

Released May of last year, STILL gained critical acclaim thanks to tracks like "City Blues," and "Werking." In September 2017, he gained attention thanks to his song "Hidden Fences" heard on Issa Rae's HBO series, Insecure. He's also worked with the likes of Van Jess and The Game.

Peep the visuals for "Growth" above.

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