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Black Thought, El Michels Affair give us 'Grateful' ahead of new album

The album cover of "Glorious Game" shows the head of a tiger made entirely out of glass.
Big Crown Records

You can call rapper Black Thought and producer Leon Michels plenty of things: prolific, accomplished, respected. But “complacent” is definitely not one of them, as the pair proved by releasing “Grateful,” the first single off upcoming album Glorious Game.

A longtime member of The Roots, Black Thought made some serious noise just this past August with Cheat Codes, a collaboration with producer Danger Mouse. It turns out he was multitasking, reaching out to Michels during pandemic lockdown and ending up with a 12-track album. Michels’ dance card has been plenty full as well, working with fellow members of The Arcs (led by The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach) on new albumElectrophonic Chronic, which is due out Jan. 27.

In the meantime, working under his El Michels Affair pseudonym, he and Black Thoughts shared “Grateful” — a single that wastes no time settling into a confident groove. It’s not often that a flute gets to carry a song’s baseline, but that’s what we get here. It’s a simple element that runs underneath Black Thought’s increasingly (and deservedly) celebrated flow as Michels steadily introduces flourishes that perk up your ears throughout the 2:51 runtime.

You can listen to the track below and on Glorious Game when it drops April 14.