Black Thought - Streams of Thought Vol. 3

It’s hard not to automatically be drawn to anything Black Thought does. It’s also extremely difficult to review with a balanced agenda, because hip hop heads hold him in such high regard as an artist and emcee. I’ve tried to not just ‘bulk label’ this joint as a classic – and I just can’t do it. It’s really one of the best albums of the year but also one of the best bodies of work Black Thought has delivered in his astounding 30-odd year career behind the mic.

As with the previous instalments of this ‘Streams of Thought’ series, Volume 3: Cane and Abel enlists just the one producer for the entirety of the EP. The first volume was handled by 9th Wonder, Volume Two saw Salaam Remi take control and this latest joint sees veteran Sean C create the soundscape for Black Thought to deliver his uber-premium quality lyrics over. It’s an interesting choice, but Sean C makes hits. We’ve seen it with his early work with some classic emcees like Big Pun and Jay-Z, his work with Puff Daddy and on albums such as Jay Z’s ‘American Gangster‘ and the same rings true now. He still delivers a unique sound, but it encapsulates some of what he has previously done with The Roots, and therefore brings a modern soundtrack for 2020.

Black Thought also ups his game and spits completely different content to the first couple of albums in this series. It’s a lyrical masterpiece, we can’t front on that, but it also carries with it some incredible and poignant social commentary around police brutality, the world pandemic, the environment and physical world we live in, relationships and more. The sense of urgency and the purposeful nature of the content can’t be denied – Black Thought is in his bag.

So in conclusion, I wanna clear the confusion, Any rumors the artist you’re currently hearing is human. The shapeshifter, weightlifter, I hate Hitler. I’m the great victor behind the bars. State prisoner.” Black Thought delivers bars on the above track which is one of many standouts on the album. His progression as an emcee is seemingly endless as he once again has taken it to yet another level.

Good Morning‘ is another track with incredible content, but it’s not just Black Thought that delivers the bars on this one. Featuring Killer Mike and Pusha T, each emcee brings their A-game in a true testament to the phrase ‘steel sharpens steel’. You could certainly see Black Thought and Killer Mike being the best damn ballot you’d ever see for the POTUS job in the future – that is the level of their intellect and their understanding of the current world machinations.

Another track I keep coming back to is ‘Magnificent‘. The funky drums, bluesy guitar lick – it’s outstanding and it also shows Thought going to that next level from start to finish. Peep the opening bars to the track….
Two fifteen I hurt myself to see if I could feel. Then I began to pray to see if God was real. I said, “All-Seeing reveal to me”. That which is concealed. Something told me that I probably shouldn’t be behind the wheel of that Bonneville. I was still feeling kinda ill. Not a dollar bill. Time to kill. Trying to sign a deal. Ten years before state prop was rock la famille. I was popping pills unaware that steel sharpens steel. I’ve grown“. The Magnificent alright.

Bangers: State Prisoner, Magnificent, Good Morning, Thought vs Everybody, Fuel

Score: 10 / 10. I know, it’s a cop out just to give Black Thought a perfect score, but in reality, this is one of the best albums of 2020 and one of the best in his top tier discography. It’s modern, it shows growth as an artist and emcee, and it’s really relevant. It’s a classic from one of the best to ever pic up a pen and get behind a mic.

Is this the Album of the Year? Hit up the socials for some real dope content and discussions over @ Facebook & Twitter.

About The Author

By Brutus Maximus

Founder of Raw Side Hip Hop. Been rocking with the hip hop culture for over 30 years. Love the creativity, authenticity of the art and the culture as a whole. Shout out to the real ones making and supporting true hip hip and the artists who make it!