Quarantine – Black Thought was a recent guest on KXNG Crooked’s Crook’s Corner podcast where the two Hip Hop heavyweights (and their peppered beards) chatted by video as they both adhered to their various state’s stay-at-home orders.
At the beginning of the discussion, they talked about how they were getting through quarantine and The Roots MC revealed he was feeling more creative than ever, or as Crooked put it, his “pen is still moving.”
Around the 17-minute mark, the Slaughterhouse vet brought up Philadelphia and the city’s propensity to produce stellar MCs.
Thought explained, “You couldn’t be no joke. With The Roots, when we came out, when we first hit, we had Scott Storch in the group. We had a big ass, upright bass in the group. We had me and Questlove just lookin’ crazy. There was no cohesiveness in the look, imagery, what you saw, our aesthetic — we were just a real motley crew of dudes. We had to gel sonically.”
Thought then discussed his insatiable hunger for Hip Hop and how long he’s been working at it. As he’s mentioned in numerous interviews, he first started rapping in the third or fourth grade and was part of a group called the Crash Crew with Beanie Sigel.
“We all had something to prove even back then,” he said. “At first we had something to prove amongst ourselves and then sorta to the world. I’ve always just … that’s how I move. I try to be as worldly as possible and I try to be as personable, and come out of my shell, and to be as extroverted as I’m able to be being the introvert that I sorta am. All that being said, when it comes down to it, I’m just a hungry rapper. I’m always gonna be hungry at heart. I feel like that’s what keeps what I do sounding fresh and feeling fresh.”
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From there, Crook asked him about his biggest influence and Thought doesn’t hesitate.
“I was definitely inspired by the young Will Smith when he was the Fresh Prince, rocking with Jazzy Jeff,” he said. “I come from an era when it was almost more about the DJ than it was about the MC. The MC was an accessory, something that went along with a dope DJ. It was about you biggin’ up the DJ. And I feel like just the chemistry between Jeff and Will, it was like the perfect chemistry, and Will made it just as much about the MC as it was about the DJ. Some of the best DJs have always come from Philly.”
He also cited Schoolly D as another influence, calling him the “original gangsta of rap,”along with Kool G Rap, Big Daddy Kane, KRS-One, Grandmaster Caz and Spoonie Gee.
Midway through the interview, Thought recited the first rap he ever wrote at 9 years old: “I’m a hippa hopper/Neva stoppin’ rockin all around the clocka/Double T, you know it’s me/ I’m rockin’ on the m-i-c/Money maker, booty shaker, party rocker non-stopper/Girl taker, heartbreaker, undercover super lover,” proving his innate gift for rhyming once again.
The over hour-long interview is full of plenty of additional gems. Watch the full conversation above.