Black Thought, El Michels Affairs Drop a New Sonic Valentine, ‘That Girl’
The Roots’ Black Thought and soul outfit El Michels Affair have dropped a new song perfect for Valentine’s Day, “That Girl.”
The track finds Black Thought delivering tongue-twisting, devotional bars over an El Michels Affair groove anchored by heavy bass hits and clattering percussion but warmed by psychedelic touches. “At first love was elusive, this old heart was icy,” Black Thought raps, “The cold part, I thought the final wifey wasn’t likely/My lover, friend, my spiritual twin, yet nothing like me/And rightfully so I never met somebody/More striking than you.”
“That Girl” is the second song Black Thought and El Michels Affair have shared, following “Grateful,” from their upcoming collaborative album, Glorious Game, which is set to arrive on April 14. The project grew out of a correspondence between the MC and El Michels Affair frontman, Leon Michels, the two sending each other tracks and raps back and forth during the pandemic.
Michels leaned into hip-hop’s affinity for sampling while working on his side of the record, though rather than go crate-digging, he created his own loops. He crafted soul tracks from scratch, pulled samples from those, chopped them up, looped them, and created fresh instrumentals for Black Thought
As for how Black Thought approached his lyrics, he previously said in a statement, “What I write about is determined by the equation of the producer’s energy and my energy, it’s about where we meet. To me, these songs are like scenes from a film that is my life. That’s the way it evolved.”