A long-rumored collaboration between producer Danger Mouse (Brian Burton) and The Roots rapper/lyricist Black Thought (Tariq Trotter) that has been in the works for more than a decade will finally see the light of day this summer. The pair’s album, Cheat Codes, is due Aug. 12 from BMG and is led by its first single “No Gold Teeth,” an UNCANNY-directed black-and-white video for which is out now.
The 12-track Cheat Codes marks Danger Mouse’s return to hip-hop for the first time since his 2005-era work with the late MF Doom on The Mouse and Mask, credited to DANGERDOOM. It also follows Black Thought’s solo releases Streams of Thought, which came out in three volumes from 2018-2020.
Doom is in fact featured on Cheat Codes, as are A$AP Rocky, Run the Jewels, Raekwon, Michael Kiwanuka, Joey Bada$$ and Conway The Machine.
Burton and Trotter met as far back as 2005 and began working on music together afterward, initially under the working title Dangerous Thoughts. But when Burton became an increasingly in-demand producer for acts such as The Black Keys, Beck and U2, and Trotter joined The Roots as the house band on Jimmy Fallon’s NBC late-night show in 2009, the project ground to a halt.
According to a press release, “each mistakenly thought the other had moved on and their collaboration had died on the vine, but truthfully neither ever stopped wanting to work together” (indeed, Trotter referenced the project as dormant as recently as 2018 in a Billboard interview). But of late, Burton wanted to return to making hip-hop, reached back out to Trotter with some new ideas and Cheat Codes began to take shape.
“This time around, Burton was a far more seasoned songwriter and producer, Trotter a more extraordinary rapper,” the release continues. “So, setting aside all distractions, Burton played Trotter some new music and the ideas and words flowed. It was liberating.”
Cheat Codes is available for pre-order in a variety of formats. Black Thought can also be heard on Black Star’s just-released first album in 24 years, No Fear of Time.
Cheat Codes Track List:
“The Darkest Part” (feat. Raekwon and Kid Sister)
“No Gold Teeth”
“Because” (feat. Joey Bada$$, Russ and Dylan Cartlidge)
“Belize” (feat. MF DOOM)
“Aquamarine” (feat. Michael Kiwanuka)
“Strangers” (feat. A$AP Rocky and Run The Jewels)
“Close To Famous”
“Saltwater” (feat. Conway The Machine)
“Voilas & Lupitas”