People are continuing to celebrate hip hop’s 50th anniversary. Just a few weeks after a powerful homage to hip hop at the Grammy Awards show, lyricist Black Thought has collaborated with BET and music video director Benny Boom to pen a love letter to one of the greatest music genres ever to exist.
“This is a love letter to hip hop for me because hip hop is the love of my life,” Black Thought told Rolling Stone about the video. “No matter what medium that it is that you’re working in: If you’re painting a picture, if you’re writing a book, [or] if you’re writing a song. Those works of art that resonate the most are when you actually pour your true self into it.”
In a nearly five-minute soliloquy, Black Thought lyrically spoke on the history of rap music, highlighting the OGs while celebrating the art form itself. “To end the gang wars [is] what we started this thang for,” he rapped.
In another line he spoke on the hip hop legend’s influence on today’s artists. “They could never be kept in a vault,” he continued. “There would be no Kim or Nicki Minaj without Peppa and Salt. I hope Cardi B and Megan thank Latifa, and Lyte, and L. Boogie. Superheroes who were eager to fight.”
The 51-year-old Philadelphia native is the lead MC of the hip hop group The Roots. Last year, he and Danger Mouse released their highly anticipated joint effort, Cheat Codes. The 12-song project featured fellow artists Raekwon, Joey BADA$$, Russ, Conway the Machine, and ASAP Rocky.
“I remember a time before hip hop, and it’s something that we need to cherish and appreciate and not take for granted because it’s not guaranteed,” Black Thought mentioned in his interview. “Even though it’s always been there for people for the past few generations, it’s not guaranteed that it’s going to always be there if we don’t, you know what I’m saying, treat it the way we’re supposed to and continue to pour ourselves and to invest into it in an authentic way,” he added.
Watch the full love letter to hip hop below: