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Danger Mouse|Cheat Codes

Cheat Codes

Danger Mouse & Black Thought

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Brian Burton was a teenage Roots fanatic -- so eager to own but too short on funds to buy his beloved band's Do You Want More?!!!??! that he paid an acquaintance to lift a copy for him. A decade later, Burton had become Danger Mouse, an ascendant producer with enough clout and confidence to seek lead Roots MC Black Thought for a collaboration. Mouse and Thought meshed and recorded demos for a potential LP. Other projects then took precedence. Thought reached out to Mouse after another 11 years passed, in 2017, and over the next year, the two laid down much of what materialized in 2022 as Cheat Codes. Given the project's genesis before the rapping half's 2018-2020 solo trilogy, it stands to reason that Cheat Codes isn't billed as Streams of Thought, Vol. 4. It's also of an even higher concentration. Returning to sample-based production, Danger Mouse favors '60s and '70s psych, prog, and soul recordings that are moody, trippy, and sometimes eerie. The crisp if soot-coated drums, smeared strings, moaning organs, and gnarled guitars are all very compatible with Thought, who scythes through it all with unparalleled wordplay delivered with surgical precision. The guest appearances are superfluous more often than they are truly complementary. Representing the latter, MF Doom (recorded post-Danger Doom) shuffles into place on "Belize" with such ease that he sounds like part of a longtime trio. Michael Kiwanuka sets up "Aquamarine" -- one of two tracks that also reconnects Mouse with fellow Kiwanuka producer Inflo -- by crooning a grave hook that leads to some of Thought's bleakest and most authoritative statements. They pivot from lines ending with "bullion," "Suleiman," a racist epithet, and "depression" to "I'm a king, I'm dipped in God's Black complexion." Some stellar outside contributions notwithstanding, Cheat Codes stimulates most when Mouse and Thought are sequestered, allowing the latter to leave space only for the occasional instrumental break or rare prominent sampled vocal. The title track is an unremitting torrent of high-alert reality checks like "Shit, it's real when you done lost your last feeling/Jump then bounce back off the glass ceiling/Back to stealing, to Xanax and smack dealing." "Violas and Lupitas," which could triple in length without losing its transfixing power, ends the album with a grand flourish: "Go ask them about the gatekeeper, world leader/Kill shit quicker than Usain could run a hundred meter." Quotables such as that, over a production that skillfully combines opulence and grit, prove that the duo fulfilled their plan right on time.
© Andy Kellman /TiVo

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Cheat Codes

Danger Mouse

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1
Sometimes
00:02:10

Black Thought, MainArtist - Brian Joseph Burton, Composer, Writer - Clarence Reid, Writer - Tarik Trotter, Composer, Writer - Danger Mouse , Producer, Engineer, MainArtist - Kennie Takahashi, Mixer, Engineer - Bob Weston, Engineer

© 2022 BMG Rights Management (UK) Limited ℗ 2022 BMG Rights Management (UK) Limited

2
Cheat Codes Explicit
00:02:14

Black Thought, MainArtist - Brian Joseph Burton, Composer, Writer - Tarik Trotter, Composer, Writer - Danger Mouse , Producer, Engineer, MainArtist - Kennie Takahashi, Mixer, Engineer - Bob Weston, Engineer - Lester Johnson, Writer - Robert Townsend, Writer - Michael Liggins, Writer - Matthew Watson, Writer

© 2022 BMG Rights Management (UK) Limited ℗ 2022 BMG Rights Management (UK) Limited

3
The Darkest Part (feat. Raekwon and Kid Sister)
00:03:44

Corey Woods, Writer - Pauline Matthews, Writer - Black Thought, MainArtist - Brian Joseph Burton, Writer - Tarik Trotter, Composer, Writer - Danger Mouse , Producer, Engineer, MainArtist - Kennie Takahashi, Mixer, Engineer - Bob Weston, Engineer - Kid Sister, FeaturedArtist - Raekwon, FeaturedArtist - Dean Josiah Cover, Writer - Samuel Benjamin Cohen, Composer, Writer

© 2022 BMG Rights Management (UK) Limited ℗ 2022 BMG Rights Management (UK) Limited

4
No Gold Teeth Explicit
00:02:33

Black Thought, MainArtist - Brian Joseph Burton, Composer, Writer - Mort Shuman, Writer - Tarik Trotter, Composer, Writer - JERRY RAGOVOY, Writer - Danger Mouse , Producer, Engineer, MainArtist - Kennie Takahashi, Mixer, Engineer - Bob Weston, Engineer

© 2022 BMG Rights Management (UK) Limited ℗ 2022 BMG Rights Management (UK) Limited

5
Because (feat. Joey Bada$$, Russ, and Dylan Cartlidge) Explicit
00:04:41

Dorian Burton, Writer - Black Thought, MainArtist - Brian Joseph Burton, Composer, Writer - Tarik Trotter, Composer, Writer - Danger Mouse , Producer, Engineer, MainArtist - Kennie Takahashi, Mixer, Engineer - Bob Weston, Engineer - Herman Kelly, Writer - Russ, FeaturedArtist - Joey Bada$$, FeaturedArtist - Jo-Vaughn Virginie Scott, Writer - Dylan Cartlidge, Writer, FeaturedArtist - Russell James Vitale, Writer

© 2022 BMG Rights Management (UK) Limited ℗ 2022 BMG Rights Management (UK) Limited

6
Belize (feat. MF DOOM) Explicit
00:03:54

Black Thought, MainArtist - Brian Joseph Burton, Composer, Writer - Tarik Trotter, Composer, Writer - Danger Mouse , Producer, Engineer, MainArtist - Kennie Takahashi, Mixer, Engineer - Bob Weston, Engineer - MF Doom, FeaturedArtist - George Stavis, Writer - Daniel Thompson Dumile, Writer

© 2022 BMG Rights Management (UK) Limited ℗ 2022 BMG Rights Management (UK) Limited

7
Aquamarine (feat. Michael Kiwanuka)
00:03:58

Black Thought, MainArtist - Brian Joseph Burton, Composer, Writer - Tarik Trotter, Composer, Writer - Danger Mouse , Producer, Engineer, MainArtist - Kennie Takahashi, Mixer, Engineer - Bob Weston, Engineer - Barry Stoller, Writer - Jean-Pierre Alarcen, Writer - Michael Kiwanuka, Writer, FeaturedArtist - Dean Josiah Cover, Writer - Berrie Wilson, Writer

© 2022 BMG Rights Management (UK) Limited ℗ 2022 BMG Rights Management (UK) Limited

8
Identical Deaths
00:02:41

Black Thought, MainArtist - Brian Joseph Burton, Composer, Writer - Tarik Trotter, Composer, Writer - Danger Mouse , Producer, Engineer, MainArtist - Kennie Takahashi, Mixer, Engineer - Bob Weston, Engineer - Colin Catt, Writer - Phil Gunn, Writer

© 2022 BMG Rights Management (UK) Limited ℗ 2022 BMG Rights Management (UK) Limited

9
Strangers (feat. A$AP Rocky and Run The Jewels) Explicit
00:04:08

Black Thought, MainArtist - Brian Joseph Burton, Composer, Writer - Tarik Trotter, Composer, Writer - Danger Mouse , Producer, Engineer, MainArtist - Kennie Takahashi, Mixer, Engineer - Bob Weston, Engineer - Jaime Meline, Writer - Mark Wirtz, Writer - A$AP Rocky, FeaturedArtist - Run The Jewels, FeaturedArtist - Dylan Cartlidge, Writer - Rakim Athelaston Mayers, Writer - Michael Santiago Render, Writer

© 2022 BMG Rights Management (UK) Limited ℗ 2022 BMG Rights Management (UK) Limited

10
Close to Famous Explicit
00:02:28

Black Thought, MainArtist - Brian Joseph Burton, Composer, Writer - Tarik Trotter, Composer, Writer - Danger Mouse , Producer, Engineer, MainArtist - Kennie Takahashi, Mixer, Engineer - Bob Weston, Engineer

© 2022 BMG Rights Management (UK) Limited ℗ 2022 BMG Rights Management (UK) Limited

11
Saltwater (feat. Conway the Machine) Explicit
00:03:22

Black Thought, MainArtist - Brian Joseph Burton, Composer, Writer - Tarik Trotter, Composer, Writer - Danger Mouse , Producer, Engineer, MainArtist - Kennie Takahashi, Mixer, Engineer - Bob Weston, Engineer - Conway The Machine, FeaturedArtist - Demond Price, Writer - Claudio Canali, Writer - Guissepe Cossa, Writer

© 2022 BMG Rights Management (UK) Limited ℗ 2022 BMG Rights Management (UK) Limited

12
Violas and Lupitas Explicit
00:02:21

Black Thought, MainArtist - Brian Joseph Burton, Composer, Writer - Tarik Trotter, Composer, Writer - Danger Mouse , Producer, Engineer, MainArtist - Kennie Takahashi, Mixer, Engineer - Bob Weston, Engineer - Tom Joe White, Writer

© 2022 BMG Rights Management (UK) Limited ℗ 2022 BMG Rights Management (UK) Limited

Album Description

Brian Burton was a teenage Roots fanatic -- so eager to own but too short on funds to buy his beloved band's Do You Want More?!!!??! that he paid an acquaintance to lift a copy for him. A decade later, Burton had become Danger Mouse, an ascendant producer with enough clout and confidence to seek lead Roots MC Black Thought for a collaboration. Mouse and Thought meshed and recorded demos for a potential LP. Other projects then took precedence. Thought reached out to Mouse after another 11 years passed, in 2017, and over the next year, the two laid down much of what materialized in 2022 as Cheat Codes. Given the project's genesis before the rapping half's 2018-2020 solo trilogy, it stands to reason that Cheat Codes isn't billed as Streams of Thought, Vol. 4. It's also of an even higher concentration. Returning to sample-based production, Danger Mouse favors '60s and '70s psych, prog, and soul recordings that are moody, trippy, and sometimes eerie. The crisp if soot-coated drums, smeared strings, moaning organs, and gnarled guitars are all very compatible with Thought, who scythes through it all with unparalleled wordplay delivered with surgical precision. The guest appearances are superfluous more often than they are truly complementary. Representing the latter, MF Doom (recorded post-Danger Doom) shuffles into place on "Belize" with such ease that he sounds like part of a longtime trio. Michael Kiwanuka sets up "Aquamarine" -- one of two tracks that also reconnects Mouse with fellow Kiwanuka producer Inflo -- by crooning a grave hook that leads to some of Thought's bleakest and most authoritative statements. They pivot from lines ending with "bullion," "Suleiman," a racist epithet, and "depression" to "I'm a king, I'm dipped in God's Black complexion." Some stellar outside contributions notwithstanding, Cheat Codes stimulates most when Mouse and Thought are sequestered, allowing the latter to leave space only for the occasional instrumental break or rare prominent sampled vocal. The title track is an unremitting torrent of high-alert reality checks like "Shit, it's real when you done lost your last feeling/Jump then bounce back off the glass ceiling/Back to stealing, to Xanax and smack dealing." "Violas and Lupitas," which could triple in length without losing its transfixing power, ends the album with a grand flourish: "Go ask them about the gatekeeper, world leader/Kill shit quicker than Usain could run a hundred meter." Quotables such as that, over a production that skillfully combines opulence and grit, prove that the duo fulfilled their plan right on time.
© Andy Kellman /TiVo

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