Black Thought has dropped a captivating new freestyle titled “Love Letter To Hip Hop” in honor of the genre’s 50th anniversary this year.
In the video, which aired on BET, The Roots lyricist traverses the history of Hip Hop completely acapella, weaving in many of the genre’s biggest legends as he explores rap’s evolution over the last five decades.
Along the way, he shouts out Grand Wizzard Theodore, Grandmaster Flash, JAY-Z, Diddy, Kanye West, Lauryn Hill, Public Enemy, A Tribe Called Quest, Queen Latifah, Lil Kim, Nicki Minaj, Cardi B, TakeOff and many others.
“We rose to become entire ecosystems/ It’s wild to think about how long the people have listened/ 50 years down the line we could spark this/ My eternal beloved Hip Hop/ Is where our hearts live and that’s word,” Black Thought raps in the black-and-white video, which was directed by Benny Boom.
“This is a Love Letter to Hip Hop for me because Hip Hop is the love of my life,” Black Thought told Rolling Stone of the freestyle. “No matter what medium that it is that you’re working in, if you’re painting a picture, if you’re writing a book, if you’re writing a song, those works of art that resonate the most are when you actually pour your true self into it.”
The new freestyle arrives shortly after Black Thought announced a new collaborative album with El Michels Affair titled Glorious Game.
Dropping April 14, the project will serve as the follow-up to Thought’s 2022 joint album with Danger Mouse, Cheat Codes, which peaked at No. 43 on the Billboard 200 and featured appearances from A$AP Rocky, Raekwon, Joey Bada$$, Conway The Machine, the late MF DOOM and more.
The tape was hailed as one of the Best Albums of 2022 by HipHopDX and earned Black Thought a nomination for the Biggest Hip Hop Comeback of the year.
Black Thought also kicked off Hip Hop’s 50th anniversary tribute performance at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards earlier in February, taking the stage alongside pioneers such as Run-DMC, LL COOL J, Public Enemy, Missy Elliott, Busta Rhymes and more.
Fellow Roots member Questlove curated the performance, and in January announced the history-spanning showcase would be in collaboration with Nas’ Mass Appeal Records to shout out “some of the biggest names from the genre coming together to celebrate Hip Hop history.”
“Hip Hop has been a driving force in the music and the culture,” Questlove said in his video announcement. “It’s had an immeasurable impact on our culture and our world and I’ve had the great privilege of co-curating this thing with the Roots and many others that are gonna join us that night.”
Black Thought is also still hard at work on the long-awaited follow-up to The Roots’ 2014 album …And Then You Shoot Your Cousin.
“The Roots album could be done whenever we need it to be. We got enough songs, and I feel like it’s cohesive,” he said in an exclusive interview with HipHopDX last summer.
“It’s not like a, ‘We’re about to start,’ so it boils down to just that refinement, which songs are actually completed. We have hundreds of compositions, a couple hundred ideas, because it’s been a minute.”