Black Thought is the ultimate "emcee." Ask anybody who is a fan of hip hop and chances are they will note that this man embodies what a true emcee is. Usually one to sneak under the radar when the "best of all time" talk comes up, Black Thought is not one to tell you how good he is, make videos about it, and then rap more about it. Instead, he presents his raw skills, his talent, and his words. All of it speaks for itself. A large piece of the puzzle that is The Roots, Black Thought's words inspire, but never expire. Transcend, but never depend. Thought provoke, but never choke. In true poetic form, Tariq Trotter is the silent assassin with a knack for attacking the microphone in just about anyway. With his variety of spot on on-stage impressions and raw energy, Black Thought was more than a worthy candidate to be the headlining act for Manifesto 2010, alongside DJ J Period. Together, they presented their Live Mixtape: Illadelph Edition.
J Period is no stranger to Toronto, and no stranger to large festivals. He took to the stage in Brooklyn and presented this unique idea of a "Live Mixtape." Picture taking one of your favourite mixtapes from back in the day; you had a variety of classics back-to-back song-after-song. In Toronto, J did this and played a variety of classics, but brought Black Thought along. Surely, you've heard "Boom" where he impersonates Big Daddy Kane and Kool G Rap to a T. Or how about his one-man onslaught of "Protect Ya Neck"? The chemistry between this DJ and this emcee was purely magic on the stage of Manifesto 2010's Main Event. The crowd in attendance witnessed a performance to remember.
Rapping over beats such as Foxy Brown's "Oh Yeah," Damian Marley's "Welcome to Jamrock," and Drake's "Forever," BT would freestyle, recite past rhymes, or mimic the original artists. "Put him over any beat, I don't care what beat […] he can hold his own," says J. Period of Black Thought. And the respect is mutual, "I came to do this just on the strength of J. Period saying 'I'm trying to do this joint.' […] I appreciate J. Period's hustle. He's dedicated and he goes in. Once he has a vision, he's gonna see it through to fruition." Even though each artist is busy with their own projects and appearances, the back-and-forth chemistry on stage was truly natural.
The performance on stage could simply be a reflection of what was going on in front of the stage; "I love the way it's going down, ya'll are so hip hop in Toronto, I love ya'll," said an energetic Black Thought during his performance at Manifesto. J. Period further emphasized this, "You couldn't do this show like this in the States, it has to happen [in Toronto]. I think that's one of the reasons why it is one of [Black Thought's] favourite places to come. The energy is great." Continuing with the T Dot love, Thought claims "This is a hip hop town. And every artist that you guys have produced, and has taken the world by storm, has been dope."
The video here, shot marvelously by the Manifesto Team, shows some live footage of Black Thought and J. Period performing their Live Mixtape at Dundas Square for the Manifesto Main Event. Check the movement.