We Don’t Deserve Black Thought

December 14, 2017: Happy Anniversary to the greatest freestyle of all time.

Mark Ricks
4 min readDec 14, 2018
Black Thought

Where were you on December 14, 2017?

I was getting ready for work. As soon as I hopped out of the shower an alert popped up on my phone that Hot 97 posted a Black Thought freestyle. What the alert didn’t say was Mr. Tariq Trotter had performed the greatest freestyle of all time.

Happy anniversary to Black Thought’s 10 minutes of pure excellence. It was an unexpected, yet welcome, surprise. The irony of this freestyle over Mobb Deep’s classic “BURN” is not lost on us. I remember how the internet went crazy, as it should have. The reactions on social media, as well as the comment section on Hot 97’s YouTube clip, are amazing. I just want to go back to that day for a few minutes, show the freestyle and also post a few reactions.

Black Thought is Your Favorite MC’s Favorite MC

“Sorry for ya loss. There’s a body in the car and it’s probably one of yours”

“I am a walkin’ affirmation that imagination and focus and patience get you closer to your aspirations”

“Pre-Kardashian Kanye, my rhyme play immaculate. Same cadence as D.O.C, pre-accident”

“Catch the herald, I’m fresh chopped and beveled. Rap on a doctrine level, so F. Scott Fitzgerald”

The Talented Mr. Trotter is Jesus on the Mic. Period.

You’re Gonna Want All the Lyrics

And Now Some Reactions

“As an actor, the theatrical side of me identifies with the concept of having a script, memorizing the lines, then being able to be off book, so to speak. If you know your lines, everybody else’s lines, you have those beats in your muscle memory, then you can improvise and go off-script.” — Black Thought

“From the breath control to the stacking of metaphors to the spectrum of his playful pop culture references woven throughout, there is something remarkable about holding that sheer volume of wordplay in your dome at a time and being able to let it off at a moment’s notice in one take.” — Sidney Madden, NPR

“The densely arrayed metaphors, the calibrated poise, and casual displays of erudition (“I’m international — my passport pages are like “War and Peace”) all point to an artist who remains thoroughly in control of his gifts.” — Jelani Cobb, New Yorker

“For the real competitive, hardcore, want-to-be-the-best type of an MC, watch this clip, study the words and how they connect and just don’t think Black Thought is that funny guy with Jimmy Fallon because you’ll experience a fate worse than death believing that.” — Kevito, Okay Player

“Black Thought is in top form throughout, dropping references to Franz Kafka, Buzz Bissinger, W.B. Yeats and “pre-Kardashian Kanye,” all seemingly without ever stopping to take a breath.” — Andy Cush, Billboard

Let Me End with This

You are the ultimate bar, (pun intended), that all MCs should aspire to emulate. Thank you, Black Thought!

Just another day for Black Thought
Here’s Black Thought getting all the lyrics from Jimmy Fallon



Mark Ricks

Originally from NJ now living in MD. Just a guy with a smartphone looking to learn.