Tariq Trotter, aka Black Thought, has been the frontman of the legendary Roots crew since 1992. In 2018, Thought decided to create a catalog of his own with his critically acclaimed Streams of Thought series. To serve as a precursor to his upcoming “Streams of Thought Vol. 3” album, he has just released a new single titled “Thought Vs Everybody“. Produced by the legendary Sean C, the track is a politically charged assault on our current world order.
As soon as the song starts, the voice of monumental religious and civil rights leader Louis Farkahaan introduces listeners to “the most powerful black man in the world”. While the actual speech was Farkahhan’s way of opening up for revolutionary activist Eliahj Muhammad, it serves as a welcoming for Black Thought here. As soon as the skit ends, a raw instrumental consisting of a simple string and drum pattern kicks in. Following it up, Thought comes out in full throttle with the lines “They asked why I seem so solemn, On the throne between three stone columns” and “Fearing DACA dreamers instead of FEMA”. It is evident he has been fueled by current events as the fire and aggression in his voice are so raw. Trotter continues to build up lyrically until he hits a climax with lines such as “Lady Liberty face full of concealer” and “Another young life was lost on live stream”. After this tangent, Thought decides to go in a more personal direction as he wonders if he is still prone to police brutality despite his wealth and fame. Switching it up again, the legendary mc decides to dive even deeper into his own skepticisms. He poses questions like, “I even heard the Soviet’s, the 45th POTUS” which forcefully challenge the audience to think. Towards the end of the record the bar “I feel the fuckin’ system failed just like kidneys” stuck out to me hours after my listen. This is because the song revolves around this one principle and the idea that our nation is collapsing right in the palm of our hands. As the track starts to settle down, Black Thought fades away just as hard as entered while he excretes the phrase “Thought Vs Everybody”.
In conclusion, this is modern food for though as it is just another reason why Tariq Trotter is one of the best lyricists of all time. It would take hours to sit down and decode each bar on this record as the writing is that intricate and profound. Amid the chaos we know as 2020, I have seen so many rappers try to tackle the same subjects, and honestly, it has become repetitive recently. With that stated, Black Thought has found a way to go against the norm as he brings a refreshing view on such a beat-up talking piece. Looking at how good this single is, I don’t even think our ears are going to be able to bear the lyrical annihilation on Streams Of Thought Volume 3.