Black Thought
Streams of Thought, Vol. 3: Cane and Abel


4.1
excellent

Review

by Rowan5215 STAFF
October 25th, 2020 | 31 replies


Release Date: 10/23/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The new grit.

"I am the most hated alive", Black Thought assures us on the dopamine-rush bar factory "State Prisoner". The evidence isn't in his favour on that one. While his contemporaries chase trends and take hiatuses, hit incredible highs at their peaks and scrape the barrel immediately after, Black Thought seems blessed (or cursed) by some higher power to rock up again every two or so years, unbelievably consistent and reliable; a bedrock the entire game can rest upon.

About the only variable in Thought's constant stream of quality is the production behind him, especially since his lifelong work with Questlove is temporarily on hold. Sean C, chosen beatsmith for Streams of Thought, Vol. 3: Cane and Abel, initially seems a more straightforward pick than Salaam Remi or 9th Wonder. "State Prisoner" is appropriately nasty, all rumbling bass and clattering drums behind Thought's most furious bars in years, but the Pusha T- and Killer Mike-featuring "Good Morning" slips worryingly into more generic territory. Thankfully, Vol. 3 takes full advantage of its longer runtime, stretching into more places than the fairly self-contained first two volumes could. The biggest surprise here is "Nature of the Beast", an honest-to-god indie pop tune where Thought trades a pleasant baritone with The Last Artful, Dodgr over an uncharacteristically subdued Portugal. The Man. It's a cut bound to put off hardcore hip-hop heads, but which provides a lovely change of pace in the album flow. This same odd trio links back up for album highlights "Quiet Trip" and "Fuel", both of which unite the album's duelling interests in gentle pop and cutthroat rap to excellent results.

Inbetween its two extremes is when Streams of Thought, Vol. 3 begins to falter. "Good Morning" is clearly aimed straight at your Spotify hip-hop playlist, but even features from some of the biggest names in hip-hop feel phoned in next to Black Thought's diamond-sharp bars, the same issue which plagues the bizzarely ScHoolboy Q-assisted "Steak Um". The relationship-forward "We Could Be Good (United)" feels like prime real estate for Thought to get introspective, as on some of his best work, but ultimately comes off one-sided and bogged down by an awful refrain. Sean C's more anonymous beats yield nicely to the bars in powerhouse cuts "Thought vs. Everybody" and the jazzier "Magnificent", but undeniably lack the punch of previous volumes.

Thing is, though, I think hip-hop is like alchemy, and Black Thought has the right chemistry with anyone. Give him the Human Music beat from Rick & Morty and he'd still spit a verse that'd make your head spin without ever feeling self-congratulatory, or too assured of its own greatness. Black Thought, ever as humble as his talent will allow him to be – on Malik B's passing he beautifully wrote "from day one, I always felt as if I possessed only a mere fraction of your true gift and potential" as if he's not a top 3 MC alive – is content to ride the waves of his music, building a perfect legacy piece by piece.



Recent reviews by this author
ManDancing The Good Sweatclipping. Visions of Bodies Being Burned
Bright Eyes Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once WasMike Shinoda Dropped Frames, Vol. 1
Hayley Williams Petals For ArmorBig Thief Demos Vol. 1 - Topanga Canyon, CA - Feb 2018
user ratings (43)
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
October 25th 2020


44310 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

felt like this deserved a review it's getting overlooked



bit rushed but w/e

Digging: ManDancing - The Good Sweat

SowingSeason
Moderator
October 25th 2020


36274 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great write up Rowan. I'm a huge fan of the Roots and was reasonably excited for this. I found the beats and melodies to be a bit generic, but the lyrics were good and the delivery was quite passionate. As a disclaimer though, I have not heard any of the previous Black Thought volumes.

Digging: ManDancing - The Good Sweat

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
October 25th 2020


44310 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

there aren't the best beats he's ever worked with but I love the instrumentals for Quiet Trip, Nature of the Beast and Fuel in particular



great melodies on those songs too. Swizz Beats can fuck off tho

gryndstone
October 25th 2020


1766 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

First 2 volumes of this have been awesome. Hope this is too!

bloc
October 25th 2020


64156 Comments


All 3 of the Streams were overlooked for sure. This is super solid, but I wouldn't say it's as good as the others

Digging: DJ Sabrina the Teenage DJ - Makin' Magick

Ecnalzen
October 25th 2020


9645 Comments


Oooo, an actual album this time?

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
October 25th 2020


44310 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

a fairly short album but yes definitely a full length thing here



tbh this is probably my favourite Streams but I can see an argument for any preference there

Rawmeeth38
October 26th 2020


1691 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This was no where near the quality of 1&2. Good but lacked the consistency of the formers.

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
October 26th 2020


44310 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

1 isn't very consistent especially for a 5-song EP but I'd agree 2 is great from start to finish. this makes up for that with diversity tho

barryallen4191
October 26th 2020


1 Comments


Thanks for taking the time to share with us such a great article. I found such a significant number of fascinating stuff with regards to your blog particularly its discussion. Keep doing awesome.
Sephora Gift Card Balance
https://www.sephoragiftcardbalance.com/

bloc
October 26th 2020


64156 Comments


"Thanks for taking the time to share with us such a great article. I found such a significant number of fascinating stuff with regards to your blog particularly its discussion. Keep doing awesome.
Sephora Gift Card Balance
https://www.sephoragiftcardbalance.com/"

Sweet my wife will love that

Lord(e)Po)))ts
October 27th 2020


62510 Comments


The fuck is Rowan doing listening to a rapper over the age of 23?

Digging: Godfather Don - Beats, Bangers and Biscuits...

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
October 27th 2020


44310 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

damn owned me. wtf is a 3 stacks, like money???

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
October 27th 2020


44310 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

ghostface killer is that like the guy in Scream

Lord(e)Po)))ts
October 27th 2020


62510 Comments


Do more, do more!

Deathconscious
October 27th 2020


25488 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Damn, i like this.

Digging: Causa Sui - Szabodelico

johnnyblaze
October 27th 2020


3297 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

not on the same level as the previous Streams unfortunately. Good Morning, Steak Um and Fuel are good. none of the features really elevate the songs unfortunately. PtM choruses feel a little awkward paired with Thought's grittiness.

gryndstone
October 27th 2020


1766 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thought vs. Everybody is pretty wild too

HalfManHalfAmazing
October 27th 2020


2682 Comments


Black Thought has one of the most wildly entertaining albeit technical styles out there fr

Digging: Paris - Unleashed

Lord(e)Po)))ts
October 29th 2020


62510 Comments


Anyone getting straight vibes from tariq trotter?



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2019 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy