Music Radar: Glorious Game Album Review


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Black Thought spits fire on Glorious Game.

I was first introduced to Tariq Trotter (A.K.A. Black Thought) last year with his collaboration project with producer Danger Mouse, Cheat Codes. I was thoroughly impressed, Black Thought and Danger Mouse complimented each other perfectly, with the jazz rap and boom bap beats setting the stage for Black Thought to spit witty bars. When I saw the new album Glorious Game, a collaboration effort with producer El Micheal’s Affair, my excitement got the better of me and I just had to review it.

This album starts with a bang. The opening track, “Grateful” has the nastiest beat I have ever heard with these sharp hits of snare and a sinister sounding flute line. Black Thought is clearly in his element, flowing over the track spitting absolute fire. The song “Glorious Game” is next and the funk is just overflowing from the beat. Black Thought laments the state of rap music with lines like, “Weakness killed this culture, more or less. Your projects [sic] is such a snorefest.” My one gripe with the song is a weak chorus by KIRBY, which the reprise on the back end of the album makes work a lot better. The best chorus on the album is on my favorite song, “Protocol.” Sung by Son Little, it soars and brings an already great track to a whole new level.

Black Thought is consistently great on this project, his lyrics and rhyme schemes are complex without feeling overindulgent. My main issue with the album is the production. Sometimes the beats can get a bit repetitive, a problem that Cheat Codes didn’t have. The volume balance is also out of whack in a few places. The track “I’m Still Somehow” is very lowkey and I was expecting the next track to pick the speed up a bit. What I wasn’t expecting was my ears getting shredded to pieces by the insanely loud intro of Hollow Way. To give El Michael’s Affair credit, there is some really interesting production on this album. The song, “The Weather” has a subtle tempo change in the middle of the song that put me off at first, but I learned to appreciate it with each consecutive listen. As I said before, the beats on “Grateful” and “Protocol” are some of the best beats put to tape.

Overall on this collaborative effort, Black Thought carries the project. You can comb through the lyrics for hours finding new puns and references every time. It’s a very dense project, with 12 songs and a length of 31 minutes, each track running on average about 2 and a half minutes. I really like this because it shows that Black Thought and El Michaels aren’t here to waste time. This project is very solid, faults and all and I can confidently give Glorious Game an 8/10.