This week’s guest on The FADER Interview is Black Thought. The Roots’ co-founder and lead emcee joined FADER contributor Timmhotep Aku for a spirited, in-depth discussion of Glorious Game, his new collaborative album with El Michels Affair. In the course of their conversation, he shared the story behind another project he’s been teasing for years: Streams of Thought Vol. 4.
The first three editions of Streams of Thought are two 2018 EPs and a 2020 LP, each helmed by Thought alongside a single producer (9th Wonder, Salaam Remi, and Sean C, respectively). In the interview, he described the ethos of these records as “going with your gut, working in as close to an improvisational dynamic as possible.”
Streams of Thought Vol. 4 has been floating in the liminal space of completed pre-release, according to Thought, since before the series’ last project dropped two-and-a-half years ago. And he’s been flaunting the collection’s formidable features list — Yasiin Bey, Pharoahe Monch, Fabolous, Redman, Rick Ross, Big K.R.I.T., Curren$y, Tobe Nwigwe, and JID — since at least that early. In the new episode of the podcast, he revealed another feature, Nicole Wray, and said the album “could come out at any point in time,” though he remained elusive on locking in a specific release date.
More interesting was the story he told about meeting the project’s little-known producer (at least at the time of the record’s conception) 14KT, co-creating a Yasiin Bey-featuring cut he called “a timeless classic” that will “represent a seismic shift in the game,” and letting it roll from there. Read an excerpt of the story, and listen to the full episode via this link, embedded below, or wherever you get your podcasts.
Streams of Thought Vol. 4 was produced completely by a producer named 14KT, goes by KT. He’s from Detroit, now L.A. based, a brilliant producer. I never knew dude. I wasn’t familiar with his work. But I’ve got lots of connections to Detroit — family, longtime friends. DJ Jazzy Jeff does these retreats at his home annually where he flies in writers, producers from all over the world with a concerted effort of, “Let’s come up with the dopest thing we could do in a week or two.” I didn’t meet KT at Jeff’s crib, but James Poyser did.
James is a member of The Roots, and an original member of Jazzy Jeff’s camp. He’s like, “Yo, I met this dude. He’s a brilliant producer. He said he’s a huge fan. He has this one beat he wants to play for you.” We chopped it up. KT sent me this beat to a song called “Blaaaaack!,” and that became the first song I recorded, me and Yasiin Bey, on Streams of Thought Vol. 4. It’s a timeless classic. It’s been in my vault for a couple years already. It could come out at any point in time, and it’ll still represent a seismic shift in the game just because of how powerful it is and what it speaks to. I was like, “Yo, if this is what the process is gonna be like, let’s keep it rolling, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.”