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Black Thought

Background information
Birth name Tariq Trotter
Origin Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Genres Hip hop
Years active 1987–Present
Labels Def Jam
Associated acts The Roots

Tariq Trotter, better known as Black Thought, is an American hip-hop artist who is the lead MC of the Philadelphia-based hip hop group The Roots and occasional actor. Thought, who co-founded The Roots with drummer Questlove (Ahmir Thompson), is widely lauded for his complex and politically aware lyrical content, and his sharply honed live performances.


Early life

Black Thought was born Tariq Trotter and attended the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts and Millersville University. In 1987, Trotter became friends with drummer Amir "Questlove" Thompson and formed a drummer/MC duo performing on the streets of Philadelphia and at talent shows.[1] Trotter would subsequently spend some time as one of two MCs in the group The Square Roots: the other one was Malik B., who Tariq met in college.[2]

The Roots

The Square Roots renamed themselves the Roots and released its debut album Organix in 1993, to prepare for a concert in Germany. 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".[1] Things Fall Apart followed in 1999, the year the band played at the Woodstock 99 concert.[3]

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 Jill Scott and Eve.[4] The Roots' album Things Fall Apart was nominated for the Best Rap Album award.[5] For Jay-Z's acoustic concert for the television program MTV Unplugged, The Roots provided instrumentals.[6] Succeeding albums were Phrenology (2002), The Tipping Point (2004), Game Theory (2006), and Rising Down (2008).

Other work

Films in which Black Thought starred in include Bamboozled (2000), Perfume, Love Rome, and Brooklyn Babylon (both 2001).[7]

Thought has also made guest performances on several other records including "Pimpas Paradise" by Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley, Team by Dilated Peoples,[8] One Day It'll All Make Sense by Common, Reanimation by Linkin Park,[9] Pick a Bigger Weapon by The Coup, The Rising Tied by Fort Minor, and A Ma Zone by Zap Mama.

Black Thought recorded a solo album to be titled Masterpiece Theatre and released in summer 2001,[7] but the project was scrapped after learning that the album wouldn't count towards The Roots' current contract commitments. Most of the songs demoed wound up on The Roots' Phrenology album. In 2006, he began working on a collaborative project with producer Danger Mouse titled Dangerous Thoughts.[10] In a June 2008 interview with Brian Kayser of the website HipHopGame, Black Thought spoke of yet another solo project, which will come out on the label Razor and Tie. He stated that there would be the possibility of Questlove working on production.[11] In 2008, nominated Black Thought as among the "World's Sexiest Vegetarians".[12]




  • Bamboozled (2000)
  • Brooklyn Babylon (2001)
  • Perfume (2001)
  • Love Rome (2004)
  • Explicit IIIs (2008)
  • In NorthWood (2009)


  1. ^ a b Bush, John (2008). "The Roots - Biography". allmusic. Retrieved 2009-03-07. 
  2. ^ "Gibson Salutes Black History Month - The Roots". Gibson. 2007-02-14. Retrieved 2009-03-07. 
  3. ^ "Elvis Costello, Roots, Megadeth, Others Added To Woodstock Lineup". MTV News. 1999-07-12. Retrieved 2009-03-03. 
  4. ^ "Santana, Aguilera, The Roots Ponder Grammy Honors". MTV News. 2000-02-24. Retrieved 2009-03-03. 
  5. ^ "42nd Annual Grammy Awards nominations". CNN. 2000-01-04. Retrieved 2009-03-03. 
  6. ^ Reid, Shaheem (2001-12-17). "Roots' Questlove Gives Backstage Access To Jay-Z Unplugged". MTV News. Retrieved 2009-03-03. 
  7. ^ a b Demby, Eric (2001-01-23). "Roots' Black Thought Busy With Album, Movies". MTV News. Retrieved 2009-03-07. 
  8. ^ Moss, Corey (2001-08-14). "Tha Liks, Black Thought Join Dilated Peoples' Team". MTV News. Retrieved 2009-03-08. 
  9. ^ D'Angelo, Joe (2002-07-26). "2Na But No Neptunes On Linkin Park Remix LP — Here's Why". MTV News. Retrieved 2009-03-08. 
  10. ^ "The Paybacks". XXL. 2006-08-18. Retrieved 2009-03-07. 
  11. ^ Kayser, Brian (2008-06-29). "Black Thought". HipHopGame. Retrieved 2009-03-07. 
  12. ^ Trostle, Patricia. "Milano and Iero: World's Sexiest Vegetarians for 2008!". PETA2. Retrieved 2009-03-08. 

External links

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