Earlier this month, Black Thought hit viral circuit when he performed a 10-minute freestyle on Funkmaster Flex’s Hot 97 show. The Roots‘ lead lyricist made literal history as he spat over 2,000 words giving birth to an abundant amount of quote-worthy phrases.
While the entire community of hip-hop lyrical enthusiasts praised Black Thought for setting an example for new age rappers also known as mumble rappers, the Philly legend says he didn’t go on Flex to shut them down despite his “Can’t explain what these lame kids are talkin’ ’bout” line.
In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Black Thought takes it back to the days of his coming as an emcee, and declares he is actually the one who invented mumble rapping.
“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. …”
He enlists songs like “Don’t Say Nuthin'” and his J Dilla produced freestyle “New Year’s At Jay Dee’s” as prime examples of his innovative skill of spitting words without verbal clarity. Of course, millennial mumble rap is an 85% watered down version of Black Thought’s originated tactic.
Born Tariq Trotter, the elite emcee did mean to single out mumble rappers in his lengthy freestyle, but he also acknowledges those who he can actually understand, in which, he wouldn’t mind working with one day.
Mumble rap is basically a collective of sound effects made by a human being, if you listen closely. Black Thought’s claimed invention of the skill was apparently inspired by the art of scat singing, the vocalized version of jazz.
“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.”
Perhaps, this also brings to fruition, that the problem most hip-hop heads, lyrical lovers that is, have with modern day mumble rap, is its detrimental content that embraces drug user culture.