Black Thought — co-founder of The Legendary Roots Crew and frontman of The Tonight’s Show‘s house band — has taken a step out front this year. In June, he released Stream Of Thought, Vol. 1, his first solo EP. And just last month, he released another project, this time with help of producer and hip-hop legend Salaam Remi. Their EP is called Stream Of Thought, Vol. 2 Black Thought x Salaam Remi Presents Traxploitation. Last night, the pair rocked The Tonight Show with a warm rendition of “Conception.”
Back by the rest of The Roots, a string quintet, a harpist, and joined by Remi on electric double bass, Black Thought showcased the melodic instincts and rap virtuosity that has made him one of hip-hop’s strongest voices for over two decades. “Conception” samples Marvin Gaye’s “I Want You,” and Black Thought layers an additional level of sultriness on it as he – a rap elder statesmen with money and fame – must contemplate his life’s next direction. “Where I go, where I go from here? / Oh I, know I, could be nowhere / And trust that all that money’s good for nothin’ if you scared.”
At 47, Black Thought and his Roots peers are among the few prominent examples of longevity and aging in an industry that has always prized youth. If his two projects this year and last night’s performance are any indication, it seems like that’s a mantle he’s more than willing to take up.