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Cheat Codes

by Danger Mouse & Black Thought

Released August 12, 2022 via BMG

Reviewed August 22, 2022

Top tracks (based on community voting)
Belize (65%), Aquamarine (54%), Strangers (50%)

Hearing one of the best producers of all time work with one of the most intricate and complex rappers to ever do it is a dream come true. There is not a single miss on this record, from beginning to end it is just straight hip-hop in all of its beauty and grace. Danger Mouse sets up an intricate world through his beats here; with a distinct layer of grit and dust covering some of the most pretty and dreamy beats, he creates a cloudy world for Black Thought to wax poetic on. Whether it be lush soul vocals or a skittering, ominous piano taking head, Danger Mouse adds a delicate and precise touch to every layer for some of the most confident yet lush sounding instrumentals in recent memory. Black Thought, as always, brings some of the best bars to the table, twisting and contorting words to portray a multi-faceted array of ideas from his point of view. We get dismal dissections of modern American living, philosophically dense examinations of life, and of course lots of love for Philly, with his patented style of precise wordplay. He continually shows that no matter how much time goes by, he’ll rap anyone under the table with ease. There is also a great list of features here from Run the Jewels and Raekwon to DOOM—and even surprisingly, Russ spits a good guest verse. One of the sharpest rap albums of the year. – Jared (9/10)

Black Thought, the consistent connoisseur of hip-hop, teams up with Danger Mouse in what can be seen as something that must have existed in spiritual form, patiently waiting for the day that these two souls collide. Black Thought's solo run of late, starting with the Stream of Thought series in 2018, has shown us that—on a technical and lyrical level—there aren't many that can follow his lead. Over three decades in the game with rarely a foot wronged sees shouts for the greatest of all time come into view, or at least come back around, again. An infinite wordsmith with the pen, Black Thought's capacity to remain fresh through phonics is unadulterated in its proficiency. Danger Mouse's deep and dust-filled beats offer a rugged landscape for Black Thought and his affiliates to traverse, which they do ever so elegantly. Cheat Codes will find itself on many a year end list, and most definitely on, and in, “best of the decade” debates. – Peter (8.5/10)

Daniel: 9/10 | Jacques: 9/10 | Jared: 9/10 | Alan: 8.6/10 | Cam: 8.5/10

DeVán: 8.5/10 | Peter: 8.5/10 | Dominick: 8/10 | Ben (Synth): 7.5/10

Community Reviews:

Total juggernaut of a collab album and arguably Danger Mouse's best collaboration with another artist. Amazing features, stellar production, and killer bars from Black Thought all throughout. If this doesn't put Danger Mouse up there with the production legends, then I truly don't know what will. – @microwaved.spoons (9.5/10)

The way these guys make the old-style hip-hop sound so fresh is beautiful. This album also has the best back-to-back pairing this year with “Belize” and “Aquamarine.” Beautiful is not enough to describe it. – @andresb651 (9/10)


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