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Talib Kweli & Mos Def (Blackstar)


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Here's a thread ive been meaning to bring back...


Talib Kweli (arabic for "seeker of truth", as im told) and Mos Def are 2 of hip-hop's premeir conscious rappers, and overall, some of the finest the genre's seen. These versatile MC's will take on any subject, with lyrical prowess unheard of in mainstream hip-hop.




Having met each other in high school, they composed "BlackStar" in 1999, the 2 were heralded for their work during a period when rap was really starting to show its commerical side. One track from this amazing album, "Thieves in the Night", can be found on our servers in mp3 format, upon request.




Since then, they've done much on their own. Talib released "Quality" late in 2002, with one single actually getting some radio play: the Kanye West-produced classic, "Get By". Tracks like "Joy" talked about Kweli's discrepencies with hospitals, and his decision to have his son born at home, while "The Stand" talks about America post 9-11.




His next album "The Beautiful Struggle" is due out September 28th of this year - an intresting date, as Nas supposedly has his double-album due then, as well as a new De La Soul alubm. Guest apparences will be by Mary J. Blige, Faith Evans & RES and production by Kayne West, Just Blaze, Hi-Tek, & Charlemagne.

Being that it was bootlegged months back, I can tell you it's a great album, though I dont feel it was as strong as "Quality", personally. Now, the followup (also bootlegged), "A beautiful mixtape" was fun, featuring Jay-Z, Busta Rhymes, Xzibit, Mos Def, Hi-Tek, Dave Chapelle, and many others.


Mos Def. on the other hand, never ceases to amaze with his versatility.




"Black on both sides" was a very strong solo effort, devoid of a weak track. Highlights, for me, were "Hip-hop" (talking about the state of the genre), "New World Water" (about government regulations of water & hygene), the duo with Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest on "Mr Nigga", and the radio single, "Umi Says".


Word out says he has a new album coming up, too, called "The New Danger", but it might be pushed back, so as to not conflict with that Sep. 28th date mentioned before. Nothing more than that at the moment, though there's rumors of a Black Star (both of them) single out on college radio, of which i still cant find the name...


Mos has starred in movies (Italian Job, Brown Sugar, Monster's Ball, and others), as well as hosting Def Jam Poetry. He's done mixes with everyone from DJ Shadow to The Roots.


More on these living legends later...with solo efforts coming from both (and werid rumors of them signing to friend Jay-Z's "Rockafella" records circulating), it's gonna be a great year for hip-hop after all.

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A great interview with Talib - including him answering fan questions on the spot.


This one comes from OkayPlayer.com, an excellent site for hip-hop news, courtesy of ?uestlove, drummer of The Roots...




Kweli on Vibe.com


8/25/2004 4:29:36 PM - by geffen


It seems impossible that your favorite emcee’s favorite emcee doesn’t even have a gold record hanging on his mantle. Both Fiddy and Jigga have testified Talib Kweli’s sublime mic skills while simultaneously obliterating him on music charts. We all know that bronzed records and plaques are no indication of true musical talent but you still have to wonder why more folks haven’t caught the Kweli bug. Will he be sentenced to meander dingy underground vestibules for the duration of his career? If Beautiful Struggle’s commercial success actually matches its acclaim, we may finally find Talib burrowing to hip hop’s over-fertilized surface. This time out, he’s pumped mad preservatives into his organic flow in hopes of extending his LP’s potential shelf life. With guests like Mary J Blige, Faith Evans, Res, John Legend, and Anthony Hamilton, this record is not only a guaranteed spin at Nubian niches but hipster hotspots as well.


It doesn’t hurt that Talib enlisted some of the best knob twiddlers in the business to bless his sophomore release. Of course, we hear from his sonic sidekick High Tech as well as uber-producers Kanye West, Dave West, Just Blaze, Jazzy Pha, and hip hop’s billion dollar boys, The Neptunes. VIBEOnline recently cornered the quick-witted emcee and played a round of twenty questions. We got the scoop on his beef with a music-looting pirate, what stimulates him in the studio, and why he refuses to vote.


How does your first album differ from your second?


My first album had a lot to do with trying to prove that I could do it myself. This album is more about the music and allowing the music to lead where the songs are going to go.


Do you feel any pressure or limitations with being labeled a conscious hip hop artist or righteous rapper?


No, sometimes people around me do. Media organizations feel like they can’t put me in certain situations…


How much does the prospect of airplay influence your writing?


A couple of times in my history, I got caught up in wanting to run around and meet the deejays, wanting to make sure my record got on the air, but that’s not an honest way to make music and I try to stay away from that as much as possible. When you are honest with your craft, it comes out flyer than anything you try to write for radio.


How has your family affected your career?


My kids are my inspiration and my reward at the same time. They inspire what I do and they are my reward for doing it because I get to feed them and take care of them. They are not just inspiring me, they are the most inspirational thing when it comes to my music.


Do you support Russell Simmons and his Hip Hop Summit’s voting initiative?


Yes, I support anyone inspiring youth to take the power that they have and utilize it.


How about your personal opinions about voting?


Well (laughing) I’m starting to learn from actors and politicians that you don’t have to answer that question. People pretty much know that I don’t really vote. I don’t crusade against voting, I’m not against it. I think if you want to exercise your right to vote, that’s fine. I support everyone’s right to do it. But I exercise that power in different ways. I don’t feel like I would be honest in my vote, because I couldn’t stand behind either candidate.


Let’s talk about your album leak on the Internet?


Well, it wasn’t so much an original but my unfinished copy. It wasn’t a master, or mixed, or presentable—there were hooks missing. I kick lyrics over; Mary J. Blige came in later and laid her shit over. That was the reason I was upset, not because people stole music. Once I present it, you steal what you want to steal, the karma’s on you, it’s not for me to decide. The problem is that it was unfinished and lot of people didn’t get that. A lot of people are overreacting when they say that I got upset about it.


So basically you went bbbbback into the studio and reworked it?


Well, I definitely had to purchase more beats and come up with more songs. I have no problem with a fan who saw an early version of my album on the Internet and downloaded it. I could ask them not to but if they did, I understand—I would do the same shit. I want to give my fans who did that something different when the album comes out.


What’s The Beautiful Mix CD?


Fabolous was in LA; I got him in the studio and did a song. Busta Rhymes was like, ‘yo, let’s do a song together.’ He was in the same hotel as I was and he happened to have a studio set up in the hotel, so we went and did a song. I had accumulated enough songs and realized I could really put out some shit so that’s what I did. It’s sort of like a Kweli and Friends type of thing. Some people were surprised at some of the artists that were on there, like The Game or Styles P, but it was really to show the similarities between me and these artists and not the differences.


Some critics have come down on you for working with people like Jay-Z and other more commercial artists.


(Laughs) I don’t know, I just think that’s really ignorant. I know that you agree with me. Anyone that would have a problem with me working with a Jay Z or Fabolous don’t pay attention to this music. These people had to start somewhere before they had a million selling records, before they did a commercial song that you don’t like. There was something there that got them to that point. That’s the artist that I work with, not the industry version of Jay Z but who he actually is as an artist. Not the industry version of Fabolous, but the Fabolous who got his start because he was spittin’ that fire on the Clue tapes.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Shit, he was on Def Poetry? I gotta see that!

Man, i was worried enough when someone at work started this rumor that Mos & Talib went to the Roc...since Rawkus isnt doing as well, or something (the website's not working, anyway). Then again, id love to see Kweli get the credit he deserves, too.

Here's to some of the only artists whose albums im gonna pay money for.

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  • 2 weeks later...



Due out Sept. 28th (a week from today), you can support one of the finest underground MC's (and get a tight, conscious album while youre at it) for $14 at Amazon, or like me, jump on this deal from OkayPlayer.com:




It's $25 with the shirt, $15 without, and i like the design myself. Anyway, this is one of the few I wont burn for people, cause this kind of MC needs to be supported. If you arent feeling the souless hip-hop on the radio, dont pass this one up!

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  • 3 weeks later...



Ok, so critics agree that Kweli's lyrical precision was on point on this latest effort, but some feel his beats didnt receive the right production (last album, Quality, had many big names, including Kanye West, who was working on Mos Def's new one, out soon). Therefore, Mixtape.com has announced a remix contest to all DJ's, which i look forward to hearing.


I heard Ario X & Pete Rock were double-teaming this one. Duads, any confirmation on that?

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  • 2 weeks later...

A few days after Cap'n (good lookin out :D !), i finally got my copy of The New Danger in the mail today, along with the mixtape and a John Legend sampler...


This album is tight. Not as strong as his solo debut, Black on both sides, but i dont get why this one is gettin 2-3 mics on most charts. Now, Kweli's Beautiful Struggle was a bit less cohesive, like he was trying to bust out or somethin, but it was still an enjoyable album; Mos' one, tho, while it has some fun experimental tracks with ghetto guitar rock & more vocals (you know he can sing, you heard "Umi says"), it lives up to the hype. Check out "the Rape over", the lead single "Sex, love & money", "Close Edge" ( :D had it with this one), even "Champion Requeim"...honestly, its a great album, and there oughta be more like it.


Reviews might not be on point, but the sales are showing Black Dante some love:


Mos Def Scores Highest-Ever Chart Debut With New Danger; Usher Holds Fast

10.20.2004 1:10 PM EDT


They don't call him "The Mighty Mos Def" for nothing.


The Brooklyn MC scored his highest-ever chart debut with his second solo album, The New Danger, selling more than 95,000 copies to open at #5 on next week's Billboard albums chart. Mos' last album, Black on Both Sides, bowed at #25 back in October 1999, selling more than 53,000 copies, according to SoundScan.





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  • 4 weeks later...

Man, this next mixtape looks awesome, cant wait...from OkayPlayer.com:




"Talib Kweli - The Beautiful Mixtape Vol.2"

up for pre-order at www.hiphopsite.com only. here's the tracklist:


1. "Kayslay Intro"

2. "The Struggle Continues" David Banner/Common

3. "What It Is (Blackstar)"

4. "It's Like That" Game, The/Ludacris

5. "Murderous" (feat. Kardinal Offishall)

6. "Teef's Theme" Planet Asia/Jae Hood

7. "So Good" (feat. Wordsworth/Musiq)

8. "For The City" Phil Da Agony (feat. Talib Kweli)

9. "Hi Tek Tone"

10. "On My Way" Hi-Tek (feat. Talib Kweli/Snoop Dogg)

11. "So Hood" (feat. Ghostface Killah)

12. "The Government" (feat. Donte/M-1)

13. "Speak Clearly" (feat. Jean Grae/Krondon)

14. "My Mamma Said" (feat. Sticman)

15. "Slap Niggas" (feat. Saigon)

16. "Tryin' To Breathe" (feat. Midi Mafia/Killer Mike)

17. "Mos Def Speaks"

18. "Supreme Supreme (Blackstar)"


so that means this year alone, Kweli's given us 2 mixtapes, one album, & a couple 12" (Peace Of Mind & Flash Gordon), goddamn! don't go sayin' Kweli ain't done nothin' for ya.

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  • 4 months later...

some mainstream exposure for m'boys...


Common and Talib Kweli ghostwrite for Diddy

Several months after his Vote Or Die campaign, sources tell SOHH.com that Diddy is apparently looking to express his new penchant for politics on his next album. Puff has enlisted the services of socially aware emcees Common and Talib Kweli to pen some of his material. Meanwhile, rapper/producer Kanye West is on board to produce several tracks for Puff's new project, which is currently in the works. The record is reportedly Diddy's last solo album.

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  • 3 months later...

Personally, im pretty excited about this: the biggest flaw of "Beautiful Struggle" was that it lacked Hi-Tek's production, i thought, so this is just what Kweli needs to get the kind of attention his work deserves (SOHH.com):


Reflection Eternal returns. After a five year absence, Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek are reuniting as Reflection Eternal and are presently working on a sophomore album. A date has yet to be set for the release. In the meantime, Kwe will team up with Snoop Dogg and Slim Thug on the first single off Tek's forthcoming Hi-Teknology Vol.2. The producer hopes to drop the CD this fal
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  • 4 months later...
  • 9 months later...



awesome news


Mos Def is currently gearing up for the release his third solo album titled True Magic.


According to reports, the album is slated for release via Geffen Records on September 26th.


The Brooklyn bred rapper recently released his own converse shoe titled The Chuck Taylor All Star Mid Music. Based on the classic Chuck Taylor All Star sneaker, the shoe is currently available at both Foot Locker and the Converse Web site.


As SOHH previously reported, Mos will be sharing the stage with Talib Kweli, the Wu-Tang Clan, Redman and De La Soul at the 2006 Rock the Bells Concert in San Bernardino, Calif., this weekend.


The two day event will also feature performances from Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, Immortal Technique, Murs, Supernatural, Planet Asia, Aesop Rock and Living Legends.


mustve been a helluva show, but anyway: here's to Might Mos Def gettin back on track. The New Danger was alright, but i want more of "Black on both sides" this time around.

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aw, no fair - you cant compare a rapper's acting to his work; nas was weak in belly.

But yeah, Mos is in like 3 upcoming films, he's all over that. I prefer his Def Poetry Jam work, but i didnt see 16 blocks either.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Best news in hip hop since, uh, Nas' new LP got announced:


Thursday - August 3, 2006 by Jolene "foxxylady" Petipas


Mos Def is currently gearing up for the release his third solo album titled True Magic.


According to reports, the album is slated for release via Geffen Records on September 26th.


The Brooklyn bred rapper recently released his own converse shoe titled The Chuck Taylor All Star Mid Music. Based on the classic Chuck Taylor All Star sneaker, the shoe is currently available at both Foot Locker and the Converse Web site.


As SOHH previously reported, Mos will be sharing the stage with Talib Kweli, the Wu-Tang Clan, Redman and De La Soul at the 2006 Rock the Bells Concert in San Bernardino, Calif., this weekend.

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  • 11 months later...

Christ, i hope youre right. just downloaded it the other day, not yet listened to it, his last few mixtapes have been hit or miss.

I just saw both Talib & Mos in concert, they did a few quick Blackstar tracks that were great (Thieves in the Night, Lions of hip hop, "is it too early to mourn/is it too late to ride?" and such), but i gotta admit, their solo stuff has been dropping off for me. Both of them had awesome first solo albums (Quality for talib, Black on Both Sides for Mos) but since then, eh.

I really do wanna lilke this album, ill try it soon - post your thoughts on it here tho man.

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