Danger Mouse and Black Thought are two artists who shouldn’t need much of an introduction except for the newest Hip-Hop and music fans. The pair released their joint album, Cheat Codes, on Friday (August 12) and the results are as ear-pleasing as one could hope.
Cheat Codes is a reunion of sorts between the pair after they first worked together on the DANGERDOOM bonus track “Mad Nice” which surfaced from the Danger Mouse and the late MF DOOM’s The Mouse and the Mask album sessions from 2005. The project was some years in the making with an announcement of the album surfacing recently as 2020.
While the airy production of “Mad Nice” was prototypical Hip-Hop for all involved, Cheat Codes leans into a more atmospheric sound with neither of the pair racing ahead of each other. In fact, something about the album seems restrained but not in a restrictive fashion. Instead, it appears they both needed space to flex their particular brand of genius, letting the cohesive nature of their collaboration shine versus a flat-out audio duel.
Speaking of the late, great Supervillian, DOOM appears on the track “Belize,” an early standout on Cheat Codes. Another brilliant track, “The Darkest Part,” features the ageless flow of Raekwon and vocals from Kid Sister. There is also an enjoyable pairing of a suddenly active A$AP Rocky (who also has a cameo on The Game’s Drillmatic: Heart vs. Mind opus), along with El-P and Killer Mile of Run The Jewels on “Strangers.”
While there is a series of all-out bar fests across Cheat Codes, the second half of the album shows and proves that Black Thought can do more than just zone out for 100 bars. Those songs in where Tariq Trotter’s songwriting ability stands out firmly are probably the most enjoyable portions of the project.
Refreshing too is Danger Mouse’s production, and the scope of which he puts together sounds from all manner of sources comes across as a magical gift from the great beyond.
Cheat Codes will firmly cement Danger Mouse and Black Thought as vital cogs of Hip-Hop culture. Those new to the pair, or who simply forgot about how much they’ve contributed, will be rewarded with repeated listens.
Find the album in the tweet below.
Danger Mouse & Black Thought Team Up For Excellent Cheat Codes LP was originally published on hiphopwired.com