Exclusive – Black Thought and Danger Mouse just released their new collaborative album Cheat Codes, HipHopDX‘s best album of the year (so far).
During a recent Zoom interview, the seasoned MC-producer dream team discussed the project and other upcoming endeavors, including The Roots’ long-awaited follow-up to 2014’s … And Then You Shoot Your Cousin.
“The Roots album could be done whenever we need it to be,” Thought told DX. “We got enough songs, and I feel like it’s cohesive. It’s not like a, ‘We’re about to start,’ so it boils down to just that refinement, which songs are actually completed. We have hundreds of compositions, a couple hundred ideas, because it’s been a minute.”
Six years to be precise. Since releasing …And Then You Shoot Your Cousin, Black Thought, drummer Questlove and the rest of The Roots transitioned from the house band for The Late Show with Jimmy Fallon to The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
Black Thought, meanwhile, further established himself as a solo artist with the Streams of Thought series, and Questlove evolved into an Academy and Grammy Award-winning director for Summer of Soul (Or…When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised) and became the face of Gold Peak Iced Tea. Needless to say, they’ve been busy — but miraculously still found time to sketch out an arsenal of music.
“Questlove will tell you, ‘Yeah, we got 300 songs done,’ but I think the term ‘done’ is being used very loosely,” Thought said. “But Brian [Danger Mouse] can attest. I played the album for Brian, and he’s heard it. That was an album that I played for you, right?”
Danger Mouse replied, “Yeah. There’s lot of stuff there. I’m not sure about finished. I don’t know myself.”
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Questlove provided an update on the album as well in another interview with DX earlier this month. As he explained, there’s only a small break in his schedule that will allow him to finish it.
“Here’s the weird thing,” he said. “In a normal world, I would’ve done this film, it would’ve came out and I would’ve promoted it for maybe eight to 12 weeks. And then, once it’s done its thing, then it’s over. And of course, a funny thing happened was that Disney’s like, ‘Hey, this is Oscar caliber.’ And I’m like, ‘Huh? You sure?’
“And so, that part of my life, I didn’t plan. I mean, I’m glad it happened, but what it did do was it pushed our album back from happening. So right now, there is a very short window before I start my second movie.”
Questlove starts shooting the Sly Stone documentary in October, so the time is now. He continued, “We’re doing a bunch of dates right now. As soon as we get back from Japan in August, I’m just going to […] It took us two weeks to do Organix. It took us three months to do Do You Want More?!!?!
“We’ve been working on this album for six years, so I’ll say that we’re 60 percent done. And the fact that it still sounds good, even after six years of starting and stopping, that’s how timeless it is, and it’s a return to form.”