New Music Reviews

El Michels Affair and Black Thought’s Grateful: Cinematic Soul Meets Hard Bars

Black Thought has been very busy. Fresh off of last year’s Cheat Codes with Danger Mouse, and a host of other top MCs, he puts out another record with New York based soul group the El Michels Affair…not to mention he is planning on releasing another solo record soon.

The El Michels Affair is a soul / funk band who famously covered Wu-Tang’s 36 Chambers record and now plays backing band to Black Thought. The arrangement they lay down for Grateful has an otherworldly mothership funk vibe with some jazz flute and syth and bass that sound like something off a 1970s sci – fi movie. Above all else, they bring this 70s funk and soul vibe that really works with Black Thought’s delivery. The key is that both Thought and the El Michels Affair both compliment each other. Moreover, there are samples laid down over the beats that gives the music a needed edge that forces you to bob your head.

Black Thought brings his A game as he spits bars about power, getting rich, oppression and how you can “blow out your wig like French Poodles.” His delivery along side the music sounds like you are at a hip slam poetry session at some smokey cafe in New York at 2am. I can just picture Thought with his fedora hat, thick rimmed sunglasses and immaculate beard standing on stage serving straight gold to the audience.

It’s great seeing Thought partner up with different bands, hip hop artists and producers. These records are both stretching him creatively and giving us some amazing hip hop to enjoy. I have never been more excited for a hip hop record as I am for his upcoming solo album. Even though Black Thought has been busy, he keeps putting out hits and upping the game.

Listen to Grateful

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