Album Notes - Danger Mouse and Black Thought - Cheat Codes

Album Notes - Danger Mouse and Black Thought - Cheat Codes

August 29, 2022

Hip hop doesn't appear here all too often. When it does, it usually hits me with an ear to yesteryear. Today it once again arrives, and based on previous posts, it's unsurprising that the MC is 50, the producer 45. 

Brian Burton made a name for himself as Danger Mouse when his genius mashup of Jay-Z's eighth LP with the Beatles ninth yielded The Grey Album. (Really, how could I not love a work that kicks off with a remix of the most underrated George Harrison track in his Beatles oeuvre and, interestingly enough, features three Harrisongs in the opening ten minutes.) Following that, Burton gained wider fame from his Gnarls Barkley days. 

Tariq Trotter, aka Black Thought, has been doing his thing with The Roots, or minimally Questlove, since the late 80s, and continues to garner acclaim from peers and critics alike for his prolificness and deft lyricism. 

The two have been trying to collaborate on an album since the mid aughts and finally come together on Cheat Codes, an exemplary collection of what both are capable of. A host of guests, ranging from hip hop luminaries like MF Doom and Raekwon to folk-rocker Michael Kiwanuka, are seamlessly intertwined and serve as textural sweeteners to the throwback foundation established by the album's creators. Cheat Codes is a record for today but years in the making.