Watch 'Black Panther' Star Letitia Wright Freestyle on 'Fallon' - Rolling Stone
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Watch ‘Black Panther’ Star Letitia Wright Freestyle on ‘Fallon’

Actress squared off against the Roots’ Black Thought on ‘Tonight Show,’ with Fallon adding surprise bars

Black Panther star Letitia Wright faced off with one of the world’s undisputed freestyle masters, the Roots‘ Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, in a goofy rap battle on Wednesday’s Tonight Show. But a late contender, host Jimmy Fallon, may have emerged victorious. 

The “Freestyle Generator” selected three words for the rappers to shoehorn into their verses. An admittedly nervous Wright was tasked with connecting “disco,” “Red Lobster” and “Vibranium” (the latter a reference to the fictional metal in her blockbuster superhero film) – a task she pulled off with ease. “Me and Black Thought, spin your head like a disco ball/ Natural disaster, call your pastor and let him pray for you,” she rhymed. “Yo, yo, let’s go grab some food at Red Lobster / Roots, tell me how I can win an Oscar/ And I spit this flow so free off the dome/ Vibranium got me feeling oh-so cold.”

The generator tasked Black Thought with inserting “yodel,” “toothbrush” and Sesame Street character “Snuffleupagus” – and while he stumbled out of the gate, he closed his verse with a hilarious flourish. “The Roots are 1, 2, 3, about 10 total/ And yo, that kid at Coachella, that boy could yodel,” he flowed. “She clean her sneakers with a toothbrush – don’t ever be a poop butt/ No one is touching us; you know we hustlers/ You better muscle up and get your numbers up/ And cut the truffle up, throw it on a pizza, warm and fuzzy, Snuffleupagus.”

After Wright struggled to muster up her final verse (“hammer,” “burrito,” “Benedict Cumberbatch”), Fallon calmly stepped in. “Did I stutter, or did I stammer?/ I’m walking around with baggy pants like my name is MC Hammer,” he rhymed. “I go home; I got a bag of Dorito’s/ I put my hand in; it’s frozen; I guess I grabbed a burrito/ I have you laughing; you’re in stitches/ What’s up, Beneditch Cumberbatch? You’re my Cumber-bitches.”

“That’s how you do it!” Fallon exclaimed, seemingly stunned by his own freestyle prowess as he threw down his jacket in victory and reclined on the couch.


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