The Roots‘ frontman Black Thought recently talked about being often speculated as one of hip-hop’s most slept-on emcees and why his low-profile may contribute to a lack of shine.

From Black Thought’s perspective, today’s typical emcee is highlighted for their looks rather than their lyrics.

“A lot of what emceeing has become–like what it has grown to be about–is a lot of artists focusing on the fame aspect. Focusing on living out loud and being in the spotlight. And doing a bunch of interviews, taking thousands of pictures. Just kinda saturating the market with your presence. Not necessarily with your musical presence, but just like with your image. It’s all about I , I , I. And I’m just a super, super private person. You know? What I like least about my job is that fact that people might recognize me. Or that I have to take picture and do interviews and sh*t like that. So it’s not like I’ve shot myself in the foot, but it’s kinda like a gift and a curse… It’s like a double-edged sword.” (VIBE)

Hip-hop legend Q-Tip also recently praised Black Thought for his talent.

“He’s amazing. He reminds me of a G-Rap in that way,” Tip explained in an interview. “He’s definitely a wordsmith. He’s a steady, consistent dude that you can just count on time in and time out to always give that level. He’s definitely dope and people are starting to really sing his praises more and more.” (VIBE)

Last night, Grammy-winning rapper Kanye West publicly stated that Lloyd Banks was one of hip-hop’s most underrated emcees.

“Yo man Loyd Banks prolly the most underrated MC in the game… Man he deserve to be top 5 at least!,” West tweeted Wednesday (September 8) night. (Kanye West’s Twitter)

Thought has over a decade of music to his name.

Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter a.k.a. Bad Lieutenant, Big Bank Willie Gank, and ‘Riq Geez Born October 3, 1972. is the MC of the Philadelphia-based hip hop group The Roots. Although nowhere near the most popular performer in hip-hop, Black Thought and The Roots have a solid and devoted following. Thought, who co-founded The Roots with drummer ?uestlove (Ahmir Thompson), is widely lauded for his lyrics’ political bent, lyrical complexity, and his live performances. (Last FM)

Check out a past Black Thought freestyle below: