Black Thought
Streams of Thought, Vol. 1


4.0
excellent

Review

by Slex USER (35 Reviews)
February 8th, 2019 | 22 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This is elder statesman conversation.

Black Thought has always been considered one of the utmost underrated to ever pick up a mic and has long had nothing to prove, but you sure as hell wouldn't know that after a listen to the blistering Streams of Thought. In no uncertain terms, this is one of the most astounding rap performances I've ever heard, full of head spinning wordplay and countless moments of oh shit technical mastery. Thought sounds hungrier and more dialed in than he has since The Roots slightly overlooked Rising Down, presenting a stunningly full-bodied work covering a wide variety of topics and flows. It's a beautiful marriage of style and substance, and it never stops blowing your mind.

Streams of Thought storms out of the gate instantly with "Twofifteen", marrying a beat of funk guitar and boom bap drums with a breathless masterclass from Thought, filled to the brim with effortless internal rhyme schemes and a never ending peak Nas flow. Equally as impressive is the ground he manages to cover: surprisingly heartwarming and charming anecdotes like 'The church kitchen hustlin' dinners every Saturday/pull over, let me grab a plate, I tend to gravitate/towards how fish dinners from a styrofoam platter taste/my granddaddy sported plaid Donny Hathaways/hustlin' for everything we had 'til he passed away' sitting alongside social critique that quickly swerves to a heartbreakingly personal conclusion in 'Another soul with no name, the helicopters hunted/looks like a couple of days before the doctor comin'/but that's my little cousin, watch him for me/I think the world tryna sock it to me'. Highlights abound on every single track here, and Black Thought absolutely owns the proceedings. That's not a knock on producer 9th Wonder; he presents hard-hitting and warmly funk-inflected beats that are engaging but ultimately unobtrusive, getting the hell out of the way so Thought can unleash another stinger like 'Self-saboteur, speaking it to my paramour/torch rappers like I'm ignitin' the aerosol/maintaining the wherewithal that embarrass y'all'. Amidst all the showboating, Streams of Thought even manages to pack in two guest verses, in which Rapsody and Styles P thankfully hold their own. Rapsody continues her highlight reel of cosigns from legends with a slick shit talking verse that ends with her endearingly proclaiming 'I'm Trae Young, ni**a!'. Styles P's verse starts off as hackneyed and uninspired but emerges as the better of the two, growing more creative as it goes along, even containing one of the EP's most memorable lines in the hilarious 'I'm Hannibal on an elephant, animal but elegant'. These guest spots don't reach the brilliant dexterity of Thought's writing, but neither do they detract from the project.

Of special mention also is possibly the best track to be found here, the sublimely generous and touching closing track "Thank You". It encapsulates everything that makes this release so impressive, riding a euphoric D'Angelo sample while the rapper lays down two relatively brief but indelible verses packed with succinct detail and uncharacteristic gratitude. It ends with Thought graciously affirming 'This unbroken token of appreciation/for frequencies and stations not keepin' the people waitin'/for players who supported, remainin' completely patient/and each and every record in the basement/listen, thank you'. The song cuts out immediately after, not another second needed, not a word wasted. Far from a victory lap, Streams of Thought is a vital addition to the Black Thought cannon, showcasing a multifaceted and commanding performance from one of the best to ever do it.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Slex
February 8th 2019


6638 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's a crime that these EPs don't have a review yet, will be posting one for Vol 2 soon

Digging: Tyler, the Creator - IGOR

Typhoon24
February 8th 2019


1941 Comments


hell yeah. 9th vs thought is a contender for best song of last year

Slex
February 8th 2019


6638 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Honestly any track here could be in that running

Typhoon24
February 8th 2019


1941 Comments


i feel that black thought is a giant

botb
February 8th 2019


12912 Comments


Vol 2 I enjoyed even more than this but black thought’s lyricism as always was on another level on this too

Slex
February 8th 2019


6638 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I haven't listened to Vol 2 but I'm super pumped to, gonna check it out tonite

bloc
February 8th 2019


55407 Comments


X-Ecutioner Style

Digging: Lil Ugly Mane - Mista Thug Isolation

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
February 8th 2019


15808 Comments


Oooh nice, yeah, this needed a write-up. Nicely done, dude.

Digging: Full of Hell - Weeping Choir

Slex
February 8th 2019


6638 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Gracias friend

StarlessCore
February 8th 2019


5959 Comments


nice review

im a diehard roots fan (see av) but i found both of these thought releases to be whackkkk.

deezer666
February 8th 2019


4196 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review dude. Bothe EPS where stellar

Digging: Wishfield - Wishfield

Slex
February 8th 2019


6638 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Damn Starless that's wild lol

Thanks for the kind words yall

Ecnalzen
February 8th 2019


8335 Comments


Well, I love The Roots, so I should probably give this a go.

SowingSeason
Moderator
February 9th 2019


30695 Comments


nice review, I need to get more hip-hop on my resume

Digging: Tyler, the Creator - Igor

Typhoon24
February 9th 2019


1941 Comments


Naw I’m sorry but BT is as real as hip hop gets. A true purist

butcherboy
February 10th 2019


9464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Nice! a pos incoming..

Slex
February 10th 2019


6638 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Appreciate it! I was just hyped we finally agree on something haha

Typhoon24
February 10th 2019


1941 Comments


Thing about BT or the roots is that they don’t/or hardly make mistakes. So most of their shit is high quality

JoeTex
February 26th 2019


746 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

no man is an island but i'm a castaway

Slex
February 26th 2019


6638 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

So so many good lines to be found here



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