Black Thought Says: 'I Essentially Invented Mumble Rap'
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Black Thought set the internet on fire a few weeks ago with a 10 minute freestyle with Funk Flex.
While finally catching the limelight as one of the most talented lyricists in the history in the genre, he sat down with Rolling Stone and discussed today's lyricists today.
"I think hip hop, the culture, is at a crossroads right now, and there's not very much that people who are older than millennials hae to identify with," he said. "I think hip-hop, the culture, is at a crossroads right now, and there's not very much that people who are older than millennials have to identify with. There isn't much that's reaching the mainstream that is hip-hop in the sense that people my age know it as, if that makes any sense. The game has changed. It's different. The standards are different, the criteria that's taken into consideration in determining validity is different. We're at a point in history where lyricism almost comes last in very many regards. So for someone from my school, who has come from the ilk of lyricism being held in far higher regard, it brings a different sort of urgency to every performance. That's what I went into that Flex freestyle with, with that same urgency that I had when I was a young person coming to New York from Philly with very much to prove."
He then explained that he essentially designed the style many call "mumble rap."
"There's a whole element of artists that I can't explain what they're talking about. And it's not just because of their stylistic approach with the whole "mumble rap." Lots of people are saying that I shut down mumble rap in one 10-minute setting. But that wasn't my intention, because mumble rap – if we go back – that's something I invented. I invented rapping without actually using the words. … [W]ith songs like "Don't Say Nuthin'," freestyles like "New Year's At Jay Dee's," I essentially invented mumble rap, where you go for many bars without saying any words. And when I did it, it came from a place of being inspired by scatting."
In case you somehow missed it, watch the viral freestyle below.