Black Thought reflected on his relationship with the late Malik B in an interview with Variety. The veteran MC recalled how his longtime collaborator played a crucial role in keeping The Roots together in the band’s formative stages.

“Malik to me was a brother within a band of brothers,” he said. “At the point at which he and I met and started to collaborate, he helped me to keep my head in the game. There was a moment early on when I went away to school, a time when I was farthest from Ahmir [Questlove], who, up until that point, was the only other person that I had known as a partner.”

He continued, “Malik helped keep the Roots together because once he became part of the equation, he added a completely different dynamic, a new dimension to us as a unit. When he and I left school to reestablish the connection with Ahmir and Philly, I felt as if we were ready for the world.”

Black Thought noted “Malik represented a missing piece of the puzzle” in The Roots. But beyond music, the acclaimed rapper remembered his friend as a good person.

“What I’ll remember about him most is how he made people feel,” he explained. “There will be valleys and peaks in a person’s life, but he remained the same person on a ‘heart’ level. Maybe it had something to do with his upbringing, his dedication to Islam or the time he spent in Saudi Arabia as a young person where his parents were educators — Malik was always a class act. He made you feel as if you were the only person in the room.”

Black Thought's Eulogy For Ex-Roots Member Malik B Reads Like Poetry

Malik passed away at the age of 47 in July. Following his death, Black Thought postponed the Sean C-produced project Streams Of Thought Vol. 3: Cane & Abel, which was due out on July 31.

No updated release date has been announced, but a new single titled “Good Morning” dropped on Friday (August 28).

Stream Black Thought’s “Good Morning” featuring Pusha T, Killer Mike and Swizz Beatz below.