Tariq Luqmaan Trotter (born October 3, 1975), better known as Black Thought, is an American rapper and the lead MC of the Philadelphia-based hip hop group The Roots, which he co-founded with drummer Questlove (Ahmir Thompson), as well as an occasional actor. He is widely lauded for his live performance skills, continuous multisyllabic rhyme schemes, complex lyricism, double entendres, and politically aware lyrics. With The Roots, he is a singer and rapper on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, frequently playing games with Fallon and his guests.
|Birth name||Tariq Luqmaan Trotter|
|Born||October 3, 1975|
|Origin||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
Black Thought was born Tarik Luqmaan Trotter, to Thomas and Cassandra Trotter, both members of the Nation of Islam. His father was murdered when Trotter was one, and his mother murdered when he was in high school. He spent time tagging "DT" or "Double T" with graffiti around Philadelphia. He sold crack cocaine briefly, and was sent to live with family in Detroit for a few months in high school. Trotter attended the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts and Millersville University studying Journalism. In 1987, Trotter became friends with drummer Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson and formed a drummer/MC duo performing on the streets of Philadelphia and at talent shows. Trotter would subsequently spend some time as one of two MCs in the group The Square Roots: the other one was Malik B., whom Tariq met in college. In high school, Black Thought became interested in the lessons of the Nation of Gods and Earths, which you can still hear resonate in some of his bars.
The Square Roots renamed themselves the Roots and released their debut album Organix in 1993. The Roots signed to DGC and followed up with Do You Want More?!!!??! in 1995. Recorded without any sampling, the album was more popular among alternative music fans than those of hip hop. Around the release of the album, The Roots performed at the Lollapalooza alternative music festival and Montreux Jazz Festival. Illadelph Halflife, the band's 1996 album, became its first album to chart within the top 40 spots on the Billboard 200 because of the successful single "What They Do". Things Fall Apart followed in 1999, the year the band played at the Woodstock 99 concert.
In 2000, The Roots won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for "You Got Me", with guest performances by Erykah Badu and Eve. The Roots' album Things Fall Apart was nominated for the Best Rap Album award. For Jay-Z's acoustic concert for the television program MTV Unplugged, The Roots provided instrumentals. Succeeding albums were Phrenology (2002), The Tipping Point (2004), Game Theory (2006), Rising Down (2008), How I Got Over (2010), Undun (2011), and …And Then You Shoot Your Cousin (2014).
Black Thought's numerous musical guest performances include "Pimpas Paradise", by Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley; "Hard Hitters", by Dilated Peoples; "Stolen Moments Part 2", by Common; "X-Ecutioner Style", by Linkin Park; "My Favorite Mutiny", by The Coup; "Right Now", by Fort Minor; and "Rafiki", by Zap Mama.
Black Thought recorded a solo album, to be titled Masterpiece Theatre and released in 2001, but the project was scrapped after he learned that the album would not count toward The Roots' contractual commitments. Most of the songs from the project appeared on The Roots' Phrenology album.
In 2006, he began working on a collaborative project with producer Danger Mouse, titled Dangerous Thoughts. As of September 2017, the album had not been released.
In a June 2008 interview with Brian Kayser of the website HipHopGame, Black Thought spoke of another solo project that was scheduled for release on the Razor and Tie music corporation. He stated that there would be the possibility of Questlove working on production. As of September 2014, neither Black Thought nor the solo album are listed on the Razor & Tie website.
In February 2011, Black Thought, along with 10.Deep and the "Money Making Jam Boys" collective—the latter of which includes Dice Raw, S.T.S., Truck North and P.O.R.N.—released the mixtape The Prestige.
Together with U.K. artist Lotek, Black Thought appeared on the song "Living in Bunkers", by Australian hip hop group Hilltop Hoods, which was released on the Drinking From The Sun album in March 2012. Also in March 2012, Black Thought performed with Nneka and Clef nite at BET 106 and Park. They performed the song "God Knows Why", from the former's album Soul Is Heavy, which they collaborated on.
In early 2013, Black Thought confirmed his continuing work, with Jim James and Tunde Adebimpe, on a solo album entitled Talented Mr. Trotter. At this time, he began work on a memoir with journalist and music critic Jeff Chang, as well as filmmaker Maori Karmael.
In February 2016, Black Thought joined forces with Fashawn, Murs, and Del the Funky Homosapien to record a new track called "Rise Up" for the video game Street Fighter V. A music video for the song was released by Capcom, and includes appearances by Black Thought and his fellow collaborators.
In December 2017, Black Thought appeared on HOT 97 with Funkmaster Flex where he performed a 10-minute freestyle over "The Learning (Burn)" instrumental by Mobb Deep. This freestyle went widely viral, trending over Twitter for the next days and hitting millions of views on YouTube. Streams of Thought, Vol. 1, a collaborative EP with producer 9th Wonder, was released on June 1, 2018. Streams of Thought, Vol. 2: Traxploitation, a collaboration with producer Salaam Remi, was released on November 26, 2018.
- Streams of Thought, Vol. 1 (2018)
- Streams of Thought, Vol. 2 (2018)
With The Roots
- Organix (1993)
- Do You Want More?!!!??! (1995)
- Illadelph Halflife (1996)
- Things Fall Apart (1999)
- Phrenology (2002)
- The Tipping Point (2004)
- Game Theory (2006)
- Rising Down (2008)
- How I Got Over (2010)
- Undun (2011)
- ...And Then You Shoot Your Cousin (2014)
- End Game (TBA)
- 1995: "Meiso", Meiso, DJ Krush
- 1996: "Da Jawn", Kollage, Bahamadia
- 1997: "Get This Low", The Psycho-Social, Jedi Mind Tricks
- 1997: "Stolen Moments, Pt. 2", One Day It'll All Make Sense, Common
- 1997: "Listen to This", Listen To This, Walkin' Large
- 1997: "The Agenda", Sou, Inoran
- 1998: "It's About That Time", Soul Survivor, Pete Rock
- 1998: "Live From the Stretch Armstrong Show", Lyricist Lounge Volume One, Various Artists
- 1998: "Super Lyrical", Capital Punishment, Big Pun
- 1998: "Tabou (Roots Remix)", Princesses Nubians, Les Nubians
- 1999: "Burnin' and Lootin'", Chant Down Babylon (Post-Humous Remix), Bob Marley
- 1999: "Respiration (Flying High Remix)", Respiration 12", Black Star
- 2000: "Cold Blooded", Like Water for Chocolate, Common
- 2000: "Hurricane", The Hurricane Soundtrack, Black Thought, Common, Dice Raw, Flo Brown, Jazzyfatnastees and Mos Def
- 2000: "Network", Plain Rap, The Pharcyde
- 2001: "Hard Hitters", Expansion Team, Dilated Peoples
- 2001: "Zen Approach", Zen, DJ Krush
- 2002: "Clap!", Next, Soulive
- 2002: "Guerilla Monsoon Rap", Quality, Talib Kweli
- 2002: "X-Ecutioner Style", Reanimation, Linkin Park
- 2004: "Live From The PJs", Revolutions, The X-Ecutioners
- 2005: "Appreciate", Love and Life, LaToya London
- 2005: "Flutlicht", Sinnflut, Curse
- 2005: "Pimpa's Paradise", Welcome to Jamrock, Damian Marley
- 2005: "Right Now", The Rising Tied, Fort Minor
- 2006: "Love Movin'", The Shining, J Dilla
- 2006: "My Favorite Mutiny", Pick A Bigger Weapon, The Coup
- 2006: "Yes, Yes Y'all", Timeless, Sérgio Mendes
- 2007: "Clean Up", Deep Hearted, Strong Arm Steady
- 2008: "Give It Up", Thee Adventures Of A B-Boy D-Boy, Muja Messiah
- 2008: "Hold Tight", The Million Dollar Backpack, Skillz
- 2008: "Cause I'm Black", Super Gangster (Extraordinary Gentleman), Styles P
- 2009: "Hot Shyt", "Back to the Feature", Wale
- 2009: "Live Forever", Velvet Ballads, Cradle Orchestra
- 2009: "Philly Boy", Rádio do Canibal, BK-One
- 2009: "Reality TV", Jay Stay Paid, J Dilla
- 2009: "Slow Down", Chiddy Bang
- 2010: "Philadelphia Born and Raised", Meek Mill
- 2010: "Ill Street Blues", More Demand 2, STS
- 2010: "In tha Park", Apollo Kids, Ghostface Killah
- 2010: "Let Freedom Reign", Let Freedom Reign, Chrisette Michele
- 2010: "Philly Sh*t Remix, Young Chris, Meek Mill & Eve
- 2011: "The Masters of Our Fate", Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang, Raekwon
- 2011: "Too Long", The Greatest Story Never Told, Saigon
- 2011: "Million Star Motel", Pennies In A Jar, Nikki Jean
- 2011: "Riot" LA Riot, Thurz
- 2011: "God Knows Why", Soul is Heavy, Nneka
- 2011: "Mathematics", The Welcome Mat, OCD: Moosh & Twist
- 2012: "Living in Bunkers", Drinking From the Sun, Hilltop Hoods
- 2012: "TNT (Remix)", ¡Mayday!, DJ Khaled, Stevie Stone, Jon Connor & Jay Rock
- 2012: "Congregation", Talib Kweli, Ab-Soul
- 2013: "Art Imitates Life", Gravitas, Talib Kweli, Rah Digga
- 2013: "Try Again", Black on Blonde, K-os
- 2013: "Bird's Eye View", Extended Play, Statik Selektah, Raekwon & Joey Bada$
- 2013: "Thought Process", The Piece Maker 3: Return of the 50 MC's, Tony Touch
- 2013: "Codes and Cab Fare", No Poison No Paradise, Black Milk
- 2014: "Rapid Eye Movement", PTSD, Pharoahe Monch
- 2014: "The Imperial", What Goes Around, Statik Selektah, Action Bronson & Royce da 5'9"
- 2015: "Money Makes Us Happy", Music for My Friends, Skyzoo & Bilal
- 2015: "Immortals (Remix)", Make America Psycho Again, Fall Out Boy
- 2015: "Extradite", Shadow of a Doubt, Freddie Gibbs
- 2015: "Wishin' II", PRhyme (Deluxe Version), PRhyme (Royce da 5'9" & DJ Premier)
- 2016: "Rise Up", Street Fighter V, Del the Funky Homosapien, Murs & Fashawn
- 2016: "Making A Murderer", featuring Styles P produced by 9th Wonder
- 2017: "America", Everybody, Logic featuring Black Thought, Chuck D, Big Lenbo and No I.D.
- 2017: "Who Want It," The God Box, David Banner and Watch the Duck
- 2017: "Ng'yekeleni", Thuto, Cassper Nyovest
- 2017: "Nobody", Laila's Wisdom, Rapsody featuring Anderson .Paak, Black Thought and Moonchild
- 2018: "Roman Candles", Bread, The Alchemist featuring Roc Marciano and Black Thought
- 2018: "Diamond Cutters", Behold a Dark Horse, Roc Marciano
- 2019: "Crowns for Kings", The Plugs I Met, Benny the Butcher
- 2019: "Education", Bandana, Freddie Gibbs featuring Yasiin Bey and Black Thought
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