Danger Mouse and Black Thought
Cheat Codes


4.4
superb

Review

by Rowan5215 STAFF
August 16th, 2022 | 104 replies


Release Date: 08/12/2022 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Thought @ Work

Black Thought is the greatest MC of all time. I feel pretty confident claiming this, 35 years into his career with no sign of slowing, and several killer projects after the feeling that I was listening to the best alive first started to sneak in. Just look at the dude's discography: from his young and hungry days sharing off-the-charts chemistry with Malik B to the grit and rigour that defines his diamond-sharp rhymes throughout the Streams of Thought project, the headiness with which he spits a dizzying 84-bar flex over nothing but a drumbeat on "Web" to the patient way he sketches a heartbreaking story in reverse chronology on The Roots' masterful Undun. Yeah, this is the greatest rapper there is, and the potentially year-stealing Cheat Codes is just another killer album from a man who delivers nothing else.

Much like the Streams of Thought trilogy, Cheat Codes sees Thought linking up with one sole producer across the runtime, with this album's boardsmith Danger Mouse doing such a great job that his name comes first in the album credits. Indeed the chemistry between Mouse's tightly-wound, soulful loops and Thought's rugged bars is so airtight that Questlove must be feeling a little uneasy. It's sweet enough that there's a palpable feeling of deflation whenever another MC takes the mic on Cheat Codes, although there are clear highlights in the ever-welcome, dearly-missed MF DOOM, conscious-rap heir apparent Conway the Machine and (surprisingly) a cocky-sounding A$AP Rocky, acquitting himself much better than a tired-sounding Raekwon, another copy-pasted Killer Mike verse or fuckin' Russ for some reason.

Still, we're all here to watch Black Thought work and he does his thing beautifully, seemingly effortlessly, without a single missed breath across the 38 minutes of this album. Slow-burners "Identical Deaths" and "Violas and Lupitas" call to mind the more introspective raps he brought to his year-topping feature on Saba's "Few Good Things", while the likes of "Close to Famous" and "No Gold Teeth" exist just to let Thought talk his shit - but it's the unbelievable rhymes on "Aquamarine" that demonstrate why the man is simply the best at what he does. Danger Mouse provides the right kind of support without trying to steal the spotlight, and engineers a smooth album flow that recalls the more cohesive Streams of Thought, Vol. 2 over its more scattershot siblings. Really, though, this should be an easy sell for anybody who knows their shit: if you don't, sit back, shut your trap, and listen to the master at work.



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user ratings (158)
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
August 16th 2022


47044 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

this dude is on an insane run right now, get on it while it's hot folks

Sowing
Moderator
August 16th 2022


42641 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review. I'm still letting this sink in. I'm a long time fan of The Roots but thought that Streams of Thought was just decent. This seems to be a noticeable improvement.

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
August 16th 2022


47044 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

it seems like I'm the minority in loving Streams Vol 3 but I still do, and think Fuel is one of the best songs he's ever rapped on. that being said this is definitely better as an album overall

Voltimand
August 16th 2022


1575 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Those features, my goodness

WalrusTusk
August 16th 2022


1492 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice write up. Take another look at this line.



"I feel pretty confident claiming this, 35 years into his career with no sign of slowing, and several killer projects after the feeling that I was listening to the best alive first started to sneak in."



Get rid of the commas after "this" and after "slowing". In general though the whole sentence reads a little clunky. Maybe try:

"After several killer projects and given that the man is 35 years into his career with no signs of slowing, I feel pretty confident claiming this."

Scoot
August 16th 2022


21572 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

rap aoty for me

PotsyTater
August 16th 2022


2695 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Will check, I predict a 3

osmark86
August 16th 2022


11211 Comments


what is this? defo gotta spin this holy

WalrusTusk
August 16th 2022


1492 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The beat on "Violas and Lupitas" is soooooo fuckin' good.

tectactoe
August 16th 2022


6107 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good album. I think I like 'Strangers' the best despite not really loving either A$AP Rocky or RtJ but so it goes.

PotsyTater
August 16th 2022


2695 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Because thru Aquamarine is a great run. The last two tracks are good as well. The rest is mediocre and the run the jewels song is just awful.

PotsyTater
August 16th 2022


2695 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Gonna be generous and give a 3 because the good songs are really good

bgillesp
August 16th 2022


8740 Comments


Nice, looking forward to checking

YoYoMancuso
Contributing Reviewer
August 16th 2022


17489 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

gotta get on this, great review

bloc
August 16th 2022


69181 Comments


Listening now and digging it, not feeling the hype though

cvlts
August 16th 2022


9892 Comments


about halfway into it and it's an easy 4, might rate higher... love the production and black thought is always an underrated MC

"Black Thought is the greatest MC of all time." - lol calm down, turbo...

FadedSun
August 16th 2022


3096 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

One of the greatest, sure. But THE greatest? No one is THE greatest of all time. There are too many greats. Anyway, fantastic album.

WhiteNoise
August 16th 2022


3836 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I’ve never claimed to be a huge hip hop dude but this album is so damn refreshing.



It’s not over 80 minutes long, it’s not full of shit skits. It’s just 38 minutes of good Hip Hop. More of this please.

PotsyTater
August 16th 2022


2695 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

“black thought is always an underrated MC”



??? He is almost always brought up in discussions of best emcees of all time amongst heads. Also lol @ you saying that he’s underrated and then immediately telling someone who called him the greatest emcee to calm down

Sowing
Moderator
August 16th 2022


42641 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Okay this is clicking for me now.



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