Two of hip-hop’s most talented, long-standing, yet often underrated exponents are teaming up. Danger Mouse and Black Thought just released “Because” as a single to their new album Cheat Codes, expected to drop in early August. The track features verses from New York’s Joey Bada$$, New Jersey native Russ, and English singer and rapper Dylan Cartlidge on the chorus. The duo previously released the single “No Gold Teeth” a month ago.
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Danger Mouse cooks up a solid bit of boom-bap with that’s a little psychedelic too, mixed with just enough vinyl static to match Black Thought’s classic East Coast flows and delivery. The track sounds like it was plucked out of a ’90s mixtape and edited with punchier drums that give the track its propulsion. To round out the instrumental, the guitars and high-pitched keys are lush additions that make the beat hazy, dreamy, and really accentuate the soul influences.
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This track has a bit of a throwback sound, and the verses match that energy. Black Thought dives into his dangerous upbringing, in Philadelphia, his emotional turmoil and paints a picture of what his life was like. His lines are sharp, vivid, and to the point, and standouts include “We took shoestrings, lemon drops, and chips from the deli / Knocked ’em out the box with spinner tops and skelly / “Do it, you’ll get to it,” what Mr. Woo Mac would tell me / I was locked, my celly read nigga, no Makaveli.”
Joey Bada$$‘s New York husk pairs well with the throwback beat, and his verse is similarly reflective in tone. He narratively goes through his past experiences, and lines like “Havin’ flashbacks, niggas gettin’ clapped at in front of the cleaners / On 34th street, until this day it haunts me” cut deep in the song. Closing out the track is Russ‘s verse, whose feature is a surprising placement on the song given the difference in sound between these artists. However, he is no slouch on the track, delivering one of his most confident and smooth verses in a while.
This new track is sure to have fans excited for more, and Danger Mouse and Black Thought are two legends who will always have anticipated releases. As one of hip-hop’s most skilled and consistent lyricists, Black Thought’s run with The Roots and his string of excellent features and tracks make for an impressive and growing catalog. He recently spoke about his new musical titled Black No More on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Danger Mouse, on the other hand, is famous for his collaborations and team-ups. Apart from his work with Gorillaz and mashing up The Beatles instrumentals with Jay-Z verses, he’s done collaborative albums before with MF DOOM for their legendary Danger Doom album and with A$AP Rocky for his AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP record.
You can listen to “Because” from Black Thought and Danger Mouse’s new album Cheat Codes, expected in early August, down below.