Yes, it’s more hyperbole, but no it’s not bullshit. Look at what respected hip-hop blog It’s All the Way Live had to say about Black Thought, the eternally underrated frontman and MC for The Roots, and the freestyle he recently spit on Shade 45 in a tribute to the late producer-extraordinaire J Dilla:
Black Thought has been considered by many to be among the best emcees of all time, but after his incredible ‘freestyles’ on the Shade 45 Dilla tribute recently, many hip-hop heads bowed down and gave him the crown as THE greatest. Even Q-Tip was at a loss for words when it came his time to grab the mic. While this has been floating around the net for a bit, here’s our exclusive mix of the session, with some of the levels raised (including bass) and mastered properly. I edited out Tony Toca (sorry pal) and everything flows perfectly. Enjoy raw emceeing at its finest over Dilla beats.
Honestly, that introduction might not even do it justice. Admittedly, it’s virtually impossible for Thought to have spit all of this off the dome, forcing us to put quotation marks around the word “freestyle,” but even if every word of it was written down it is STILL nothing short of remarkable. It’s a rare combination of extraordinary lyrics, a smooth, natural flow and a sick Dilla beat, and what you get is a showcase of the enormous talent that is Black Thought, who so often gets overlooked while surrounded by the universally-recognized brilliance of The Roots (and the charisma of his fellow bandmate, drummer ?uestlove). Here, though, you are treated to Black Thought at the top of his game, spitting in a raw, almost unrecognizably raspy voice and at a pace that literally leaves Q-Tip laughing (as you’ll hear) at its sickness. Originally this was three separate freestyles on the same radio show, but, as mentioned above, this file has been mastered into one perfectly fluid track. You can either download it below or listen to it below that; either way it’s eleven-plus minutes of rapping that will blow your mind:
[MP3 courtesy of (the excellent) All The Way Live]