Dangerous Thoughts – “Cheat Codes” review

Dangerous Thoughts is an MC/producer duo consisting of Danger Mouse behind the boards & Black Thought on the mic. 1 has an impressive resume of artists he’s worked with in the past ranging from Prince Po to the late MF DOOM & the other is one of the most acclaimed lyricists in all of hip hop. They initially formed in 2006 & when it seemed like we were never gonna get a full-length debut from them, the day has now come 16 years later.

“Sometimes” is a symphonic, soulful opener talking about thinking of a master plan à la The God MC himself Rakim Allah whereas the title track is a robotic boom bap cut boasting that he’s playing unlimited free throws. Raekwon tags along for the piano/soul-tinged “The Darkest Part” to talk about being in another echelon just before “No Gold Teeth” samples “Stop” by Hugh Masakela promising to never retire.

Meanwhile on “Because”, we have Joey Bada$$ & Russ accompanying Thought in describing the harsh realities of America with a guitar driven instrumental as well as a passionate Dylan Cartlidge hook leading into the rugged “Belize” seeing DANGERDOOM coming together potentially for the last time to assist in some battle raps. “Aquamarine” blends abstract with neo-soul confessing the conflict between him as a person & his status in hip hop, but then “Identical Deaths” brings some xylophones to the table talking about living many lives.

A$AP Rocky & Run the Jewels come into the picture for the hardcore “Strangers” to call out the bluff of those who dare to step up to them lyrically while the song “Close to Famous” almost gives me J Dilla vibes sonically talking about that’s how everyone be nowadays. The penultimate track “Saltwater” with Conway the Machine is a tense boom bap heater delivering some rugged ass bars only for the organ-laced “Violas & Lupitas” ending the album talking about doing God’s work.

For this being 16 years in the making & finally having it in the palm of our hands, it was much well worth it. Danger Mouse’s production is more sample-based than Sean Cane’s was on Streams of Thought 3: Cain & Able, the features all come correct (I don’t even mind Russ on “Because”) & Thought lyrically is just doing what he’s been doing best from the very moment he picked up a mic.

Score: 4.5/5

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