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Tariq Luqmaan Trotter (born October 3, 1971), better known as Black Thought, is an American rapper and the lead MC of the Philadelphia-based hip hop group, The Roots, as well as an occasional actor. Black Thought, who co-founded The Roots with drummer Questlove (Ahmir Thompson), is widely lauded for his live performance skills, continuous multisyllabic rhyme schemes, complex lyricism, double entendres, and politically aware lyrics.
The Square Roots renamed themselves the Roots and released their debut album Organix in 1993. The Roots signed to DGC and followed up with Do You Want More?!!!! in 1995. Recorded without any sampling, the album was more popular among alternative music fans than those of hip hop. Around the release of the album, The Roots performed at the Lollapalooza alternative music festival and Montreux Jazz Festival. Illadelph Halflife, the band's 1996 album, became its first album to chart within the top 40 spots on the Billboard 200 because of the successful single "What They Do".Things Fall Apart followed in 1999, the year the band played at the Woodstock 99 concert.
Black Thought recorded a solo album, to be titled Masterpiece Theatre and released in 2001, but the project was scrapped after he learned that the album would not count toward The Roots' contractual commitments. Most of the songs from the project appeared on The Roots' Phrenology album.
In 2006, he began working on a collaborative project with producer Danger Mouse, titled Dangerous Thoughts. As of September 2017, the album had not been released.
In a June 2008 interview with Brian Kayser of the website HipHopGame, Black Thought spoke of another solo project that was scheduled for release on the Razor and Tie music corporation. He stated that there would be the possibility of Questlove working on production. As of September 2014, neither Black Thought nor the solo album are listed on the Razor & Tie website.
In February 2011, Black Thought, along with 10.Deep and the "Money Making Jam Boys" collective--the latter of which includes Dice Raw, S.T.S., Truck North and P.O.R.N.--released the mixtape The Prestige.
Together with U.K. artist Lotek, Black Thought appeared on the song "Living in Bunkers", by Australian hip hop group Hilltop Hoods, which was released on the Drinking From The Sun album in March 2012. Also in March 2012, Black Thought performed with Nneka and Clef nite at BET 106 and Park. They performed the song "God Knows Why", from the former's album Soul Is Heavy, which they collaborated on.
In early 2013, Black Thought confirmed his continuing work, with Jim James and Tunde Adebimpe, on a solo album entitled Talented Mr. Trotter. At this time, he began work on a memoir with journalist and music critic Jeff Chang, as well as filmmaker Maori Karmael.
As of April 2015, the rapper has yet to release a solo album, but when asked about the long-awaited project, by a fan on Twitter, he said he's "working on it". He did not offer further details.
In December 2017, Black Thought appeared on HOT 97 with Funkmaster Flex where he performed a 10-minute freestyle over "The Learning (Burn)" instrumental by Mobb Deep. This freestyle went widely viral, trending over Twitter for the next days and hitting millions of views on YouTube.Streams of Thought, Vol. 1, a collaborative EP with producer 9th Wonder, was released on June 1, 2018.Streams of Thought, Vol. 2: Traxploitation, a collaboration with producer Salaam Remi, is scheduled to be released on November 26, 2018.
Black Thought is married, reportedly to a woman named Opal. He has five sons and one daughter.