Black Thought Freestyles Over Rick Ross, LL COOL J & UGK Classics At Roots Picnic 2022

Philadelphia, PA – Black Thought put his dazzling lyrical talents on display once again while holding court at the 2022 Roots Picnic festival in his hometown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Saturday (June 4).

For this year’s “Live Mixtape” showcase alongside J. Period, the veteran Roots MC was joined by special guests Rick Ross and Benny The Butcher, extending his collaborative relationship with the latter while putting an end to the ignorant lookalike confusion with the former.

While Rozay and Benny treated the Fairmount Park crowd to favorites from their respective catalogs during individual sets, Black Thought couldn’t help but command centerstage as he freestyled over some of their biggest songs — including Ross’ 2006 breakout hit “Hustlin’” and Benny’s “Johnny P’s Caddy” collaboration with J. Cole.

“Black Thought flippin ridiculous ATL flows & cadences over Ross Hustlin while Rick stands there in awe w jaw on the floor & his new teeth almost jumped out his face,” one festival attendee tweeted. “Tariq is half a century old & still a SAVAGE.”

Proving there’s no era or regional sound his powerful rhymes can’t dominate, Thought also tackled Hip Hop classics such as LL COOL J’s “I Shot Ya,” UGK and Outkast’s “Int’l Players Anthem (I Choose You)” and Pharoahe Monch’s “Simon Says.”

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But Tariq Trotter wasn’t done. Later that evening, the South Philly native returned to the stage during Mary J. Blige’s headlining set and performed a brand new verse over her classic 1992 single “What’s the 411?” which originally featured Brand Nubian’s Grand Puba (and later spawned a remix with a pre-Ready to Die Biggie and K-Ci from Jodeci).

“You like Method Man and Mary do/On some ‘shorty, I’ll always be there for you’/But be easy ’cause we gotta be careful too/Hold me down, I’ll be back in a few/I’m still askin’ you what’s the 411, hun?” he rapped before passing the mic to the Queen of Hip Hop Soul.

While Black Thought seems to keep himself in tip-top condition as an MC all year-round, his Roots Picnic rap drills bode well for his upcoming joint album with Danger Mouse, Cheat Codes, dropping August 12.

The duo confirmed the long-awaited project in May, revealing guest appearances from the late MF DOOM, A$AP Rocky, Run The Jewels, Raekwon, Joey Bada$$, Conway The Machine and Russ, among others.

Check out the first single “No Gold Teeth” below.