Ageism is in inherently stupid concept. Though you'll find examples of this ill-advised approach to creativity in practically any genre, recent headlines have centered on the purported divide between hip-hop's elder statespeople and a younger generation fronted by Lil Pump and others. For Black Thought, however, there's room—and a need—for both.
"I'm anti-ageism in the arts," the Roots MC told Billboard. "I feel there's space for us to coexist. I feel like the youthful experience is what drives the creativity, and I feel like experience and maturity as an adult, experience as an elder statesman, that refines it. So we're certainly both ends of the spectrum."
Previously, during a press run boosted by that viral Hot 97 freestyle, Thought took credit for "essentially" inventing so-called mumble rap. "There isn't much that's reaching the mainstream that is hip-hop in the sense that people my age know it as, if that makes any sense," he told Rolling Stone in December. "The game has changed. It's different." Though lyricism now "almost comes last," at least according to Thought, he'd still draw a direct line from songs like "Don't Say Nuthin'" to the mainstays of today.
Asked by Billboard to detail how it feels to be widely considered a legend, Thought pointed to the Roots' inarguable volume of work. "So in my personal opinion, I definitely feel like I'm a legendary emcee, and I also feel like we're a legendary brand, which is why I started rebranding ourselves years ago by saying 'The Legendary Roots Crew,' which is how we're introduced on The Tonight Show."
For more, including insight into the Streams of Thought sessions with 9th Wonder, read the full thing here.