Here's your weekly reminder to VOTE (for Biden/Harris).
Now on to the new music. I highlight seven new albums below, and here are some honorable mentions: HEALTH's album of their collaborative singles, Sturgill Simpson's bluegrass album, beabadoobee, Homeboy Sandman, Osees, Spirit Adrift, Helena Deland, T.I.,
Blue Note Re:Imagined, Autechre, Oliver Coates, Dorian Electra, Good Sad Happy Bad (fka Micachu & The Shapes), Jennifer Castle, Wayfarer, Jeremy Ivey, SPAZA, Resistance Revival Chorus, Frisco, ShooterGang Kony, Gucci Mane & the New 1017, Sheek Louch, UnoTheActivist & Travis Barker, Gulfer, Molassess (ex-The Devil's Blood), Deep Sea Diver, The Phoenix Foundation, Wendy Eisenberg, Quattracenta, Omar Apollo, JeGong (mem MONO), Holy Motors, the James Blake EP, the Preme & Popcaan EP, the Tomberlin EP, the Rid of Me EP (mem Soul Glo, Low Dose, Fight Amp) EP, the ọmọlólù EP, and the Hayden Thorpe (Wild Beasts) EP.
Also out today is the Rock Against Racism doc
White Riot and I recommend checking that out too.
Check out my seven picks below. What's your favorite release of the week?
Black Thought - Streams of Thought, Vol. 3: Cane and Able Republic
The Roots are so constantly active that it's almost hard to believe they haven't released a new album in over six years, which is the longest they've gone without an album and there's no word on when they'll finally close that gap. However, lead MC Black Thought has used the time since that last Roots LP to launch his solo career, and he's proven himself time and time again to be the rare veteran MC who's still sharpening his skills, still moving in exciting new directions, and releasing some of his best music three decades into his career. His first solo projects were 2018's
Streams of Thought, Vol. 1 (produced by 9th Wonder) and Streams of Thought, Vol. 2: Traxploitation (produced by Salaam Remi), both of which were among the best rap albums of that year, and he's also recently stolen the show on projects by Benny the Butcher, The Alchemist, Rapsody, PRhyme, Roc Marciano, Che Noir, and Freddie Gibbs. "I damn near don't like doing songs with Black Thought," Freddie said when recently naming the best rappers in the game right now. The implication, if it wasn't clear, was that Black Thought is just too good.
Two years after the first two
Streams of Thought records, Black Thought now finally returns with volume 3, featuring 10 more songs (plus an intro, outro, and interlude) that only further solidify him as one of the best currently doing it. Like the first two volumes, this one was made entirely with one producer. This time Thought went with Sean C, who you know from Jay-Z's "Can't Knock the Hustle," Big Pun's "100%," and various songs by Fat Joe, Remy Ma, Ghostface Killah, Dead Prez, Jadakiss, and more. Sean C brings a diverse palette of beats to the table, from classic glass-shattering hip hop beats to syrupy funk to airy psychedelia, and Black Thought handles it all like the pro he is. He remains both a razor-sharp performer and a powerful lyricist who always has a story to tell and always leaves you hanging on every word. It's the most accessible of his three solo records, thanks in part to indie lifers Portugal. The Man adding anthemic hooks to three of its songs, but accessible doesn't mean watered-down. It's hard-hitting, incisive art, and it takes a good look at the dark underside of the world we live in, which continues to get a long-overdue examination in the mainstream consciousness this year. (Black Thought also adds in a little humor about it, by sampling Dave Chappelle's joke about white people getting outraged by NFL players kneeling during the national anthem.)
As ever, Black Thought has no trouble holding down the spotlight for the entire album, but he does invite a little friendly competition. Schoolboy Q is at his grittiest on "Steak Um," and one of the album's major highlights is Pusha T and Killer Mike showing up on "Good Morning" (alongside a few ad-libs by Swizz Beatz). Like Black Thought, they're both veterans who are also among the best doing it
right now (as Freddie Gibbs would agree), and they all bring out the best in each other on that song. "The space that I occupy in the world is somewhere between a Killer Mike and a Pusha T, between an activist and a street hero, a man of the people and a man of the streets," Thought told Variety. There's "an equal level of sportsmanship and musicianship" Thought adds, and you can hear it. They're challenging and competing with each other, but they also show off the kind of chemistry that can't be fabricated. It takes a lot of true talent to come together in this way, and these three just keep proving how much of it they've got.