Compared to bandmate and frequent talking head Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter appears to avoid the celebrity spotlight. The Roots’ lead MC, without removing the fedora or sunglasses he usually sports on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” lifted the veil for a rare talk with NPR yesterday (May 31). The interview coincides with today’s (June 1) release of “Streams of Thought Vol. 1,” a collaborative record with veteran producer Patrick “9th Wonder” Douthit. It is Black Thought’s first major musical outing without The Roots.

Watch the seasoned Philly rapper speak about his journey through childhood trauma, the healing power of art and his reputation as a freestyle king in the video above. Stream the project below.