The Roots have this bit on The Tonight Show where they’ll freestyle a few bars about a member of the audience. Jimmy Fallon will go out and get some simple facts about an audience member, throw the band a style to play in, and Black Thought will come up with a rap off the top of his head. As the MC’s appearance on Funk Flex’s Hot 97 radio show Thursday proved, however, Fallon is severely underutilizing the man’s gifts.
Black Thought delivered a jaw-dropping, seamless lyrical free flow for 10 straight minutes (!!) over the beat from Mobb Deep’s “The Learning (Burn)”. These weren’t just some playful little bars either, as there were stunning internal rhymes, erudite references, and hammering punchlines. Look at all that’s packed into this one part: “I never thought you’d give me a reason to do this/ Cain and Abel, Jesus and Judas, Caesar and Brutus/ I see intruders, avert your eyes/ I told you keep out of the hood — circumcise.” He calls out traitors with references to Biblical and historical/Shakespearian betrayers and caps it off with a freakin’ dick joke.
“Dress to a T and not another got more soul ‘less you Korean/ I’ve been having visions of Nat Turner holding his master’s head/ Like Yorick and Horatio in Hamlet/ Smacking it like a tennis racket under-handed.” A geography pun, reference to Birth of a Nation, another Shakespeare nod. “Emperor Joffrey Joffer, mothafucka/ I’m stronger than the coffee out in Kaffa/ All y’all niggas vagina-hop, remind me of Icona Pop/ I step in the booth, I’m a bull inside a China Shop.” References Coming to America, alludes to the birthplace of coffee, drops in a music diss, closes on a metaphorical brag.
You cannot top this. Check the full thing out above, and read the completely spur of the moment lyrics here.