Black Thought Says He Essentially Started “Mumble Rap”

Black Thought is still receiving well deserved praise for his epic 10-minute FunkFlex freestyle earlier this month. While some hip-hop fans felt the veteran rapper was shutting down “mumble rappers,” he actually has a different view on the new term. Many might have assumed Thought would shun anything associated with the “mumble rap” label, but they were wrong — very wrong.

“Lots of people are saying that I shut down mumble rap in one 10-minute setting. But that wasn’t my intention, because mumble rap – if we go back – that’s something I invented,” Black Thought told RollingStone. “I invented rapping without actually using the words. With songs like Don’t Say Nuthin’, freestyles like New Year’s At Jay Dee’s, I essentially invented mumble rap, where you go for many bars without saying any words. And when I did it, it came from a place of being inspired by scatting.”

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Regardless of what the critics have to say about today’s rap music, The Roots’ mouthpiece takes all things into consideration when judging new rappers.

“I think hip-hop, the culture, is at a crossroads right now, and there’s not very much that people who are older than millennials have to identify with,” Black Thought said the rapper in the same interview. “There isn’t much that’s reaching the mainstream that is hip-hop in the sense that people my age know it as, if that makes any sense. The game has changed. It’s different. The standards are different, the criteria that’s taken into consideration in determining validity is different. We’re at a point in history where lyricism almost comes last in very many regards. So for someone from my school, who has come from the ilk of lyricism being held in far higher regard, it brings a different sort of urgency to every performance.”