Danger Mouse & Black Thought – two of contemporary music’s most exciting, respected artists – have announced their forthcoming joint album, Cheat Codes, out 12th August. Cheat Codes is Danger Mouse’s first hip-hop album since his DANGERDOOM collaboration with the late, great MF DOOM, and follows Black Thought’s pioneering output with The Roots and critically acclaimed solo trilogy, Streams Of Thought.
Cheat Codes features various friends and peers of the duo, including; A$AP Rocky, Run The Jewels, MF DOOM, Michael Kiwanuka, Joey Bada$$, Russ, Raekwon, and Conway the Machine. Official news of the project, initially rumored to be called Dangerous Thoughts, ends years of anticipation and speculation. The opening single, “No Gold Teeth”, is out now.
Danger Mouse’s soulful, freewheeling music serves as the perfect setting for Black Thought’s metronomic, pin-sharp and chorus-free lyrical deluge, giving listeners a thrilling glimpse of what’s in store from the album. The accompanying video for No Gold Teeth – directed by UNCANNY, the UK-based creative duo of George Muncey and Elliot Elder – is a visually hypnotic collage of machine learning-created images.
Danger Mouse (Brian Burton) is one of the most versatile and prolific talents in modern-day music. His wide-ranging endeavors include; Broken Bells and Gnarls Barkley, collaborative albums with Karen O and MF DOOM; plus production for Adele, U2, The Black Keys, Gorillaz, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Michael Kiwanuka, Parquet Courts, and many more. Black Thought (Tariq Trotter) is simply one of the best rappers alive. Co-founder of The Roots and an accomplished solo artist, plus a film and theatre actor, producer and writer.
Together, these multiple Grammy winners make a formidable duo. Meticulously built over several years, Cheat Codes finds Burton taking widescreen, soul-infused hip-hop soundscapes to new heights, whilst Black Thought’s incredible lyricism, razor-sharp rapping and raw hunger are somehow more commanding and thrilling than ever. It’s this unique alchemy and ability to raise each other’s game that makes Cheat Codes more than just the sum of its parts, and much more than typical producer-meets-rapper arrangement or side project.
Burton and Trotter first met back in 2005. The pair worked on some songs together, time went by, life happened, other things came up.
Following The Grey Album, Burton became one of the most in-demand and prolific producers around helming several commercial smashes, picking up awards and accolades, developing collaborations with a unique spectrum of artists, and all the while honing his own musicianship and writing skills. Meanwhile, Trotter’s groundbreaking group The Roots became the house band for Late Night then The Tonight Show; he created and released his critically acclaimed solo trilogy, Streams of Thought; wrote, composed, and starred in the widely praised off-Broadway show, Black No More; co-produced a television series with Questlove, and collaborated with Eminem, John Legend, Pusha T, Griselda and others.
Each mistakenly thought the other had moved on and their collaboration had died on the vine, but truthfully neither ever stopped wanting to work together.
Then everything changed. Burton felt an instinctive pull to go back to his roots (no pun intended), to make a timeless hip-hop album and knew Tariq was the only rapper capable of fulfilling that vision. Simultaneously, Trotter was seeking a space where he could express himself musically beyond the confines and structure of his own band. This time around, Burton was a far more seasoned songwriter and producer, Trotter a more extraordinary rapper. So, setting aside all distractions, Burton played Trotter some new music and the ideas and words flowed. It was liberating.