Produced by Grammy award-winning production crew 9th Wonder and The Soul Council, the project was released on Friday (Jun. 1).
To accompany the standout cover, the motives of Streams of Thought, Vol. 1 is strengthened by its diverse features. On the five-song tape, Black Though has three features; Lox-legend, Styles P, Rapsody, and
the underrated singer KIRBY. Together, this creates a cohesive project that encompasses both influences and sphere of hip-hop.
The leader of The Roots shared with NPR the inspiration behind the project. Streams of Thought is actually one of a three-part series where the artist looks to explore various concepts of the “collective, yet individual black experience.”
He also shared how the arts have been saving grace for him.
“The moments in life that I cherish most were those brief moments when I would get to escape: either like mentally I would get to escape, because I would be deep in the creative process, or physically — I would leave the neighborhood for a little bit to go to art class on Saturday mornings, or in the summertime my mom would sign me up for art camp, and that took place out in the middle of Fairmount Park in Philly,” he said. “So just those little small pockets of getting away from the neighborhood gave me just a different perspective when I returned. Yeah, it’s always been, for me, about the arts.”
That concept is also reflected by the cover art of the projects. For each volume, Black Thought is working with various black visual artists. Rashid Johnson’s piece, “Untitled Anxious Audience,” is brandished on Vol. 1.
Stream Black Thought’s Streams of Thought, Vol. 1. below.