Complex | Combat Jack

Black Thought on The Combat Jack Show Ep. 2

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Combat Jack:

You're like a rap superhero, my dude. You be saving rappers.

Black Thought:

This guy . . . Early on, me and Questlove, we used to do these posse cuts, where I would do 20 rappers of all my favorite artists, and I would just do impressions of all of 'em. The beats would change for each little section. I would do Pete Rock of CL Smooth into . . .

Combat Jack:

Hold up. Did you ever understand what CL Smooth was rapping about?

Black Thought:

Sometimes.

Combat Jack:

I never understood what the hell he . . . he could rap good and make it sound good. To this day, I don't know what some of his records are about, B.

Black Thought:

Yeah. I would do Pete Rock of CL, I would do the Jungle Brothers, I would do KRS1. Always Biz Markie, Kuji Rap, Kane.

Combat Jack:

The classics.

Black Thought:

They were like my go-tos. We would do these records with all of the classics all on one joint. It was something that had become like second nature for me to do just impressions. When it came time to do that song 'Boom', I just did my favorite G Rap verse and my favorite Kane verse. It goes something about . . . I said. Hold your flix, I'm not for the photo op's, It's Black, my code name's Yaphet Kotto Ock. My twist's like a ratchet in an auto shop. Since granpop old Desoto stopped and he got the Caddie. I been gladly servin'. Any y'all cats wanna act determined, Spit pesticides for rats and vermin. Seem like none of y'all chumps is learning, you're hopeless, And I'm a little better than dope is. This is the DOC shout-out: I'm a little better than dope is, Far from a brand new kid to show biz. 'Cuz you know, you started your . . . A little bit better than dope is, A brand new kid . . . That was the DOC shout-out. Just, he knows I

Combat Jack:

He know, right.

Black Thought:

When I see him, we bond on that. It wasn't for nobody else.

Combat Jack:

Right.

Black Thought:

I said, "I'm comin' out the room with a cloud of smoke is," then I shouted out Chuck D: Rollin' with the punches, I survin'. Rock, 'cuz it keeps the crowd alive. Chuck D said, I roll with the punches so I survive. Try to rock 'cuz it keeps the crowd alive. And I'm keepin' you from sleepin. That was a Chuck D shout-out. We chopped it up; we bond about that. Then I shouted out my man, EST, with the last bars in, "The texture of my voice is coarse and kinda hoarse." That's how he starts his song called, 'Straight Up.' The texture of my voice is coarse and kinda hoarse. I tackle and spackle, feelin' no remorse.

Combat Jack:

you're like 7 MCs on that record.

Black Thought:

Yeah, it was like . . . Dallas Penn: Rap genius. This is a rap genius.

Combat Jack:

This is an official rap genius.

Black Thought:

I was paying a homage. When we had that Great Day in Hip- Hop shoot, up in Harlem, and we all linin' up on the stoop, I had to step off and go use the lab real quick. I come back from the bathroom and they're ready to shoot. They're like, "Everybody back to your places, please." I'm like, "Excuse me," trying to get through the crowd and Rakim was like, "Oh shit, Thouth." I heard that come outta his mouth, and I'm like, "Yo, did he . . .did Rackim just say 'Oh shit, Thoth?" and stepped back so I can . . . That was a moment for me.

Combat Jack:

It's official.

Black Thought:

That means more to me than any of this shit.

Combat Jack:

One of the greatest examples of your work is the BET Cypher 2009, when you are rhyming with/against Mos Def and Eminem. When you're looking at that video, it' still very hard to determine who ate that shit, because all the . . . Dallas Penn: What do you mean?

Combat Jack:

I'm sayin', Mos is one of those introverted rappers 'cuz he don't really spit his best shit, but on that, he was spitting his best shit. Dallas Penn: Okay. Hold on for a second.

Combat Jack:

Eminem was doing that crazy Eminem shit, and you was just like 'grrr'. You sucked the air out the room. Dallas Penn: Crazy Eminem shit, because I'll tell you what; here's what Eminem had to deal with.

Combat Jack:

Yes. Dallas Penn: This unsung, underrated, underappreciated, The one them underachievers had underestimated, finally graduated. He's one of the most hated. Something that's so sacred. Nobody's gonna take it. Face it. Just Blaze: Preach. Dallas Penn: I keep doing it well; doing it sans assistance.

Combat Jack:

Sans assistance. Dallas Penn: Just do it yourself. Doin' it below the radar. He's doin' it stealth.

Combat Jack:

Yo, Thought? Dallas Penn: Doin' it for Illadelph, no one else.

Combat Jack:

Shut his mic off. Dallas Penn: He's doin' it again.

Combat Jack:

Yo, Thouth, what was that like, man? It was you, Mos, and Eminem?

Black Thought:

Here's the thing.

Combat Jack:

And Primo.

Black Thought:

And Primo. We all came. We agreed to do that shit because Premiere hit us and was like, "Yo. Come down and be part of Cypher with Rakim." Rakim, he wasn't able to make it that day so we all wound up having to hold it down. That gave us all a little, slightly, a couple extra bars to fill that space. Again, it was one of those things. It wasn't about nothin'. For most of that day, it was me and Mos off with the cameras in a totally different corner of the room doing my song, '75 Bars'.

Combat Jack:

I saw footage of that.

Black Thought:

We was doin' that all day. Then they be like, "Yo. We gotta get to Cypher." We would run over, rap real quick, and then go back to doing '75 Bars'. It was something that was really . . . to us, it was a small thing; we ain't take it that serious. I think when you relaxed and chill like that . . .

Combat Jack:

That's serious, B.

Black Thought:

I mean, you know, that's when you're at your best as an MC.

Combat Jack:

Thought. I know you can't leave man without droppin' these bars. Let's get it. Just Blaze.

Black Thought:

Yeah. Ya'll know the legendary Roots get it, Just got my navy blue (?) suit fitted. The linin' is made out and sewn-together silk scarf. Yeah. Cake like David Chang's Milk Bar. The real boss, South Philly's what it's built off, where actions and words getting' people killed off, And brothas walking round high like stilt saw, And freaks are named Desire, like a street car. Yo. Pitchfork, it's your favorite. I missed y'all. I was at a bar with a chick named Ishtar That's about this tall. And tellin' me she tryin' to show me what they call her The Incredible Lips for. Shake it like a salt shaker, but in thick form. I hate to play the heartbreaker, but I dipped off Right on time. If I'm late, then I'm pissed off. That's the reason that my fans never got ripped off. Assume that the elephant in the room Created by a collision of the sun and the moon. My sonogram is the image of a gun in the womb That was soon to be dope and he'ron in a spoon. I'm astonishing. And now my future's lookin' promisin'. My skin tone, that of crystal clean onyx is. My thoughts make the beat break like the Amishes. I'm a stroke of genius like Mickalne Thomas is. Hip-hoppin', body rockin, doin' the Dew, I'm the livin' definition of improvin' the groove. You's the same 'tude to shoot the Kubrik youth, Take your hero to the river and give him tuberic shoes. Who lose, if you really ain't nobody 'til somebody love you? I say you ain't nobody 'til they speakin' highly of you. What you probably wouldn't want is any kind of trouble, Unless you got a crash dummy and a body double. You got a couple homies down to catch a homi for you? Well, I'ma fold niggas into origami for you. The most notorious poet-loriat. Whole story is glorious, Stoic warriors. And I got my eyes wide open 'cuz you quasi Haters still smirkin' like the gators on IZod. y'all tomato-headed niggas are Imposters, long drawn-out process. Tripple OG's got a worn out conscience. Remeniscin', tellin' we was all out monsters On, on Sierra Lione reign of tyranny Strike fear in they hearts. Rappers stay clear of me. Black Range Rover Iatola. Billfold, the game's over. Give nigga's dat Ebola virus. Nah, you got me chopped like Miley Cyrus. Huh. I'm on your block with some molly pirates. Trash talk. I leave your ass on the asphalt, Spaz like somebody gone off of bath salts. Kick it to the bad broad then I pass off. Sip a lil rocket fuel, then I blast off. The new NASA. The breed I'm the last of, Foul beast of the southern wild from the bath tub That smack rappers in they mouths when they act up. Ya know what I'm sayin', Just Blaze, show me mad love.

Combat Jack:

Game over. Black Thought, game over internets. My dude, thank you.


In the second episode of Complex TV's Combat Jack Show, Jack calls Black Thought a "rap super hero." Thought recalls the posse cuts he used to make by impersonating 20 different rappers Biz Markie, Kool G. Rap, Big Daddy Kane, and more while Questlove changed the beats up for each one.

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