Black Thoughtof The Roots performs on stage at Hampden Park National Stadium on July 23, 2023 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Black Thoughtof The Roots performs on stage at Hampden Park National Stadium on July 23, 2023 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Photo by Roberto Ricciuti/Getty Image.

“Kanye is Less Kanye Now” Black Thought Says of Newer Kanye West Music

In a new Pitchfork feature, The Roots frontman Black Thought discussed Kanye West, sharing that he connects to the rapper and producer’s newer music “less.”

Black Thought of The Roots is getting candid about his opinion of the ‘new’ Kanye West. In a new Pitchfork article, the 51-year-old rapper shared a list of the albums that ‘made’ him, including West’s 2008 album 808s & Heartbreak. Released when Thought, born Tariq Trotter, was 35 years old, the emcee first reflected on West’s come-up as a producer in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, sharing that the Chicago artist was “dedicated to the grind and the hustle.”

“His belief in himself was always impressive. He was trying so hard to get on, just refused to quit, and f****** made it. I watched him will s*** into existence. Even as a kid, he was still Kanye West,” Trotter added.

After complimenting the creativity of 808s, Trotter got frank about West’s recent material, as the rapper has released projects ye, Kids See Ghosts (with Kid Cudi), Jesus Is King, Donda, and Donda 2 all within the last 5 years.

“I connect with Kanye’s music less now,” Trotter told Pitchfork. “Maybe it’s because of the rate at which he’s been putting out art and having to keep up. I think his process has become more assembly-line, which in many ways is the Motown model. It works. I don’t know if anything’s lost, but what is sometimes compromised is the personality. The main person it’s supposed to be about is sometimes overshadowed by all these other writers, producers, and people who are contributing. Kanye is less Kanye now than he was when I was a bigger Kanye fan.”

In a 2020 interview with Stereogum, Trotter recounted witnessing an early West go from beatmaker to rhymesayer, hearing demo versions of "Jesus Walks" and "Hey Mama." "I remember that session like it was yesterday," Trotter said at the time. "There were songs on Kanye's first album that I heard years before they came out. I said, ‘this is a timeless classic.’ This is a song where, no matter when you put it out, it's going to hit.'"

In November, Trotter will release his autobiography, The Upcycled Self: A Memoir on the Art of Becoming Who We Are, which releases November 14 via One World and Roc Lit 101.