The Roots’ Black Thought and celebrated producer Danger Mouse are putting their musical chemistry centerstage with a new visual for “Because” featuring Joey Bada$$, Russ and singer Dylan Cartlidge.
Shot from the perspective of someone strolling through New York City’s Times Square, the UNCANNY-directed video is a visually stimulating affair, with Black Thought’s face appearing on the sides of buildings as the soul-sampling production elevates every word he spits.
“Hungry as monks, take the money and run,” he raps. “Sometimes simultaneously taking one of your lungs/What I mean is I’ve seen everything that’s under the sun/N-ggas below the poverty line live under the gun.”
As for Joey’s verse, it fits neatly into the production pocket while Russ comes in on FaceTime, rapping his lines with precision as well. Cartlidge’s hook is also flawless, putting his penchant for ’70s-inspired vocals on ample display.
Joey Bada$$ talked about the opportunity to rap alongside The Roots legend in a press release that arrived last month, saying, “I’ve always been a big fan of Black Thought and Danger Mouse. I think Black Thought is one of the greatest rappers ever, so when they asked me to get on this record, it was a no-brainer, plus the record is fire!
“I still remember the first time I heard [The Roots’] ‘You Got Me’ — the video was shot on my great-grandmother’s block and I was actually there that day when I was a child. It changed the way I looked at music.”
“Because” serves as the second single from Black Thought and Danger Mouse’s highly anticipated Cheat Codes album, which is expected to arrive on August 12. The duo dropped “No Gold Teeth” in June, a track that quickly built anticipation for the project.
Additional contributions will come from the late MF DOOM, A$AP Rocky, Run The Jewels, Conway The Machine, Raekwon, Michael Kiwanuka and Kid Sister. As the press release explained, Cheat Codes is “an album untethered to any genre, era or trend — uncategorizeable and timeless. It is the sound of the pair observing their own culture and asking questions they still may not have the answers to.”