Black Thought - Streams of Thought, Vol. 3: Cane & Abel EP Music Album Reviews

Black Thought - Streams of Thought, Vol. 3: Cane & Abel EP Music Album Reviews
On the third volume in his solo series, Black Thought once again demonstrates the power of his dense, winding freestyles and stretches into new, more vulnerable territory.

One of the most hair-raising moments in the Roots’ extensive catalog is “75 Bars (Black’s Reconstruction),” a muscular showcase for Black Thought. His feverish extended verse hits like a crash landing, every word a plume of flame. In the six years since the last Roots album, Black Thought has turned the intensity of “75 Bars” into his calling card, transforming freestyles and guest spots into athletic events. Streams of Thought Vol. 3: Cane and Abel both continues that tradition and attempts to depart from it.
The record largely stays true to the format established by volumes one and two, privileging formless energy over structure. Roughly half the songs here are composed of one dense, winding verse. The EP also continues the convention of Thought working with one main producer. After 9th Wonder and Salaam Remi, here he teams with storied Bad Boy producer Sean C of the Hitmen, who provides a textured but unobtrusive canvas on which Black Thought can think out loud.

He’s got a lot on his mind. Personal relationships, his legacy, and race are frequent subjects, mostly in quick flashes. His writing has become showy lately, sometimes undermining its sharpness. Too often, that tendency leads him toward filler, as on “State Prisoner” where he goes full Rap God: “In conclusion, I wanna clear the confusion/Any rumors the artist you’re currently hearing is human.” Likewise, “Thought vs Everybody” begins with him on a throne (which has become a recurring image of him lately) and runs the theme of greatness into the ground. “Am I a journal or journalist? Herbal eternalist/Olympic tournament level genius author, affirmative,” he raps. He sounds more stoned than omnipotent.

The record is more interesting when the Herculean feats of lyricism take a back seat to introspection. “Complain” places his marriage under a microscope, acknowledging the strain that the Roots’ grueling schedule can place on a relationship. “Magnificent” is an origin story of sorts, establishing a slope for Black Thought’s ascent from mortal to deity. Through hip-hop, he recounts, he went from drug addiction and self-harm to pride, a transformation he likens to Detroit Red and LeRoi Jones becoming Malik el-Shabazz and Amiri Baraka. “Nature Of the Beast,” a somber collaboration with Portugal The Man and The Last Artful, Dodgr, features him delicately singing of alienation and stage fright, a rare moment of vulnerability.

The record’s highlight is “Fuel,” another team-up with Portugal The Man and The Last Artful, Dodgr, that finds Black Thought seeking penitence. The lush, gospel-inflected production stretches out his cadences, making his performance less streamlined and mechanical. He remains guarded, but you can feel the weariness in his voice, the hesitance in his word choices. That ability to use words as textures as much as tools has always been a hallmark of his style; without that internal balance, a hip-hop band never could have worked. Ultimately, it’s that ingrained instinct that saves from Vol 3. from falling prey to the same monotony and excess as an Eminem or Royce album. Though “75 Bars (Black’s Reconstruction)” is powered by Black Thought’s exquisite prowess, it still moves like a Roots song.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Black Thought - Streams of Thought, Vol. 3: Cane & Abel EP Music Album Reviews Black Thought - Streams of Thought, Vol. 3: Cane & Abel EP Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Monday, October 26, 2020 Rating: 5

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