Black Thought – “Streams of Thought, Vol. 3: Cain & Abel” (EP Review)

Black Thought is a MC from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania most notable as the frontman of The Roots. Since the very beginning of his career, Black Thought has solidified himself as one of the most skilled & well respected lyricists in all of hip hop from his work with the band or his lengthy list of show-stopping features. However, it wouldn’t be until 2018 when he finally started putting out projects under his own name with the 9th Wonder-produced Streams of Thought & the Salaam Remi-produced Streams of Thought 2: Traxploitation. But just about 2 years later, Black Thought is enlisting Sean Cane for the long-awaited 3rd installment.

The EP kicks off with “I’m Not Crazy (First Contact)”, where Black Thought completely shits on Christopher Columbus in complete reverb over a slow guitar-laced beat. The next song “State Prisoner” talks about needing each other for survival over a dynamic instrumental with some choir vocals during the first half while the track “Good Morning” with Killer Mike & Pusha T finds the trio talking about the struggles African Americans face along with ego-trip over an apocalyptic beat. The song “Magnificent” boasts his lyrical prowess over a funky instrumental with some live drums & after the “Experience” interlude, the track “Quiet Trip” reminisces about the old times over an fiery beat.

The song “Nature of the Beast” talks about how everyone in this country is all going through the same shit over an instrumental with some well incorporated synths while the track “We Could Be Good (United)” talks about this woman who complains all the time over a sensual boom bap beat. The song “Steak Um” with ScHoolboy Q finds the 2 talking about oppression over an instrumental with a haunting atmosphere to it while the track “Thought vs. Everybody” talks about being the most powerful black man in America over a funky beat. The “Ghetto Boys & Girls” interlude talks about coming from nothing over a spacious instrumental whereas the final song “Fuel” reads as a power open letter to the listener over a gospel-esque beat. Then for the outro, it’s just a decent reprise of the intro.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect from this one going into this but coming away from it, it’s a solid listen. Sean Cane’s production being a bit more glossier than the last 2 EPs were but that doesn’t hold it back at all as Black Thought provides a unique perspective on a wide range of topics on here, further cementing himself as one of the greatest MCs of all-time. Really looking forward to see what’s in store for the 4th installment.

Score: 7/10

Benny the Butcher – “Burden of Proof” (Album Review)

This is the sophomore album from Buffalo emcee Benny the Butcher. Coming up as the leader of the Black Soprano Family collective as well as a signee to Westside Gunn & Conway the Machine’s label Griselda Records, he would make his presence known in the culture with his Butcher on Steroids that dropped on his birthday in 2017 as well as his full-length debut Tana Talk 3 on Black Friday 2018. This was followed up 7 months later by releasing The Plugs I Met but a little over a year later, he’s teaming up with Hit-Boy for Burden of Proof.

The title track that kicks the album off is pretty much Benny talking about expanding himself over a boom bap beat with some horns along with an outro from Pain in da Ass whereas the next song “Where Would I Go?” with Rick Ross sees the 2 talking about being big bosses over a heavenly instrumental. The track “Sly Green” talks about money ain’t changing shit for him over a beat that kinda has a JAY-Z feel to it while the song “1 Way Flight” with Freddie Gibbs finds the 2 talking about bitches over a soulful instrumental. The track “Famous” talks about how he still doesn’t feel like a celebrity over an climatic beat while the song “Timeless” with Big Sean & Lil Wayne sees the 3 talking about their legacies over an energized instrumental.

The track “New Streets” talks about only being concerned of what hustlers think rather than haters over a classy soul sample while the song “Over the Limit” talks about success over a smooth, cavernous instrumental & it’s great to hear The Madd Rapper during the outro. The track “Trade It All” talks about his desire to give up his wealth to see those he’s lost once more over a somber beat while the song “Thank God I Made It” talks about being grateful for where he is today over a lavish instrumental. The penultimate track “War Paint” with Conway the Machine finds the 2 spitting the usual pusher bars over a beat with hypnotic vocal loop hanging in the background & then the album finishes with “Legend”, where Benny proclaims himself as such over a delicate instrumental.

Even though I’d have to go with From King to a God for my Album of the Year pick so far, this is just as great in my personal opinion. The production Hit-Boy brings to the table is somewhat more glamorous & clean in comparison to Tana Talk 3 & The Plugs I Met, but it manages to suit Benny well as we get to hear him at his most mature.

Score: 8/10

Get Gutta Drops Powerful “Suffocation” Visual

For Greenville, South Carolina rapper Get Gutta (Get Greater Understanding Through The Almighty), the definition of “getting it out the mud” has an entirely different meaning than most and is shown in every word of his music. The struggle is a norm in his region of the U.S. For Gutta, music has always been an outlet to express his emotions and we see that once again today with “Suffocation.”

A period track, Get Gutta recalls the current events gripping America ranging from a deadly pandemic and social injustice. “Suffocation” speaks on the overwhelming attacks and the fear that it will consume us. In the song, Gutta’s raps are precise, motivational and painful as he encourages us to continue to fight in the world’s darkest hour.

Get Gutta on “Suffocation” description:

“When weight training you inhale at the starting position and then exhale while you’re pushing the weight. Proper breathing is very important. Sometimes we get so caught up in the amount of weight placed on us as a people, we forget to breathe in order to move the weight. Causing us to Suffocate. Breathe…”

A brief history on Get Gutta, he began recording in 2005 and released his first album at 16. He is best known for sharing the stage with veteran acts Three 6 Mafia, Bubba Sparxx, Pastor Troy. He credits legends KRS-One, 2Pac, LL Cool J and Run DMC as his musical influences. In 2018, Gutta released his latest effort, Heart on My Sleeves, a dedication album, honoring his wife’s untimely passing.

He puts his heart into his songwriting and strives to encourage the youth to find constructive ways and real solutions to become successful, rather than engaging in a life of crime, drugs and violence. His music talks about real problems that we all face in this world today. He intimately invites his audience to know that he has been where some of them are, and has seen and done some things that did not get him anywhere. He managed to take the negative aspects of his experiences and turn them into positive outcomes.

“Suffocation” is the follow up to several one-shot releases by the uprising star, including, recently released songs “Vote Thanos” and “Hiatus Promo.” He promises a full-length release in 2021. “Suffocation” is available now on all DSPs.

And with more to come in the near future, Get Gutta always encourages others to live out their dreams daily. He tells us, “We were designed to be great. Don’t ever let anyone try to change your design.”