Tariq "Blackthought" Trotter

Tariq "Blackthought" Trotter

 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
BandComedyHip Hop


Tariq Trotter has been rapping for 19 years, ten of which have been shared with his legendary crew, the Philadelphia live hip-hop band, The Roots. They have been hailed as pioneers of the burgeoning sound now being identified as the "Philly Sound." Tariq “Black Thought" Trotter has been the highly recognized the voice of this sound. He is the MC, whose lyrics have recalled the poetic passion of Amiri Baraka, the truth and rawness of Donald Goines, the unquestionable flow and lyrical styles of Big Daddy Kane and Rakim, and a skill and rhythmic cadence that can be liked to no one but himself. He has served as the voice to so many poignant thoughts wrapped in a skill level we thought had been lost. Yet with the burden of such a weighted responsibility, Tariq has been forced to precariously tightrope between being pigeonholed as alternative or being accused of commercializing.

And these labels and hopeful projections placed upon Philadelphia's live-hip-hop group The Roots, was one of the driving forces behind Black Thought's desire to create his own image, and define his sound and album. A versatile MC, Black Thought has held his own through one capricious decade of hip-hop, finally to emerge like a phoenix from a flame. Like any great artist, Black Thought has learned to layer and play with the phonetics and syllables of his words. Yet he, all the while keeps in use his powerful metaphoric imagery that makes him one of the most intense and ingenious lyricist of our time.

Although enigmatic and rather indefinable, Black Thought's performing skills have carved him an undeniable niche as one of hip-hop greatest live acts. His braggadocio and stage prowess is magnetic allowing him to capture almost any crowd he performs for. It is not uncommon for him to slide effortlessly into a Louis Armstrong scat from his "Da Skat" lyrics and then into a country ho-down.

His stage presence is so well recognized that in 1999 he and The Roots won a Grammy for their performance of " You Got Me" featuring Erykah Badu. His performance and presence on the stage has attracted a wide range of musical artists such as Rage Against the Machine, Les Nubians, De La Soul, Big Pun and The Marley family, to invite him to join them as a guest on their work. In addition to musical artists, his charismatic and legendary performances have caught the eye of film directors, such as Spike Lee. He landed has roles in three movies, Bamboozled, a Spike Lee joint, Brooklyn Babylon, where he is the lead, and Perfume, where he appears along side Omar Epps. Most recently, Black Thought and The Roots have been confirmed as the new band for “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” this March on NBC.