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Hip-Hop Fridays: Impressed With Talib Kweli


Many of us in Hip-Hop have grown tired of the political rhetoric espoused by many artists in Hip-Hop who somehow think that their success as an artist immediately qualifies them as world philosophers, political scientists and economists. In that sense many artists fall into the trap of accepting the anointment of the mainstream media that has always liked to position Black entertainment figures as Black leaders in the political sense of that word. How refreshing and encouraging it is to see an artist like Talib Kweli who is as reasoned and passionate about "political" issues as he is skilled with the microphone.

I was impressed with his recent short interview with BET.com where he fielded questions about the recent presidential election and its aftermath. Rather than shooting off the top of his head or becoming a superficial surrogate of the Democratic Party like many Hip-Hop artists do, Talib Kweli offers a critical and intense opinion that reflects leadership, independent thinking as well as a connection to the grassroots. It is this type of perspective and contemplation that so often "marginalizes" such individuals in the eyes of Blacks who can only think in terms of a Democrat-Republican or liberal-conservative worldview.

So today, we ask that you check out a short and enlightening interview with Talib Kweli that provides a window on a representative of a community of rappers within the Hip-Hop nation that has higher priorities than thongs, guns and drug sales. Especially at a time when BET, MTV and Black radio are placing the spotlight on the sex and violence wing of the Hip-Hop family it is inspiring to hear the words and enjoy the creative works of an artist with a different perspective.

After reading the interview you may want to check out the Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek album, which we reviewed last year. Here is our review:

Talib Kweli and Hi Tek, Reflections On Eternal, Rating: 8.5

The new sound of Hip-Hop continues to emerge. Talib Kweli and Hi Tek make a potent combination and continue the path blazed by Blackstar, Common and Most Def. The album is conscious, musical and filled with witty and intelligent lyrics. The live instruments and samples make for a wonderful concoction and produce an album that can be enjoyed by virtually anyone - the hardcore and casual Hip-Hop fan and even Jazz and R&B fans. My favorite cut is "The Blast" with the catchy chant of " Kweli" and guest appearance from Vinia Mojica. "This Means You" featuring Mos Def is another winner for the lyrical heads out there. For those who are looking for a musical treat that captures some of the flavor of Africa and the Islands "Too Late" and "Africa Dream" are two delicious tracks. "Memories Live" is a soothing track that only a few in Hip-Hop could produce as is "Love Language" a track that talks with maturity about the ups and downs and ins and outs of love. Kool G. Rap, Rah Digga, Xzibit, and Les Nubians all make cameos on the album. If you are looking for an album where the music is as important as the lyrics and the message is as important as the delivery - this album is the answer.


Cedric Muhammad

Friday, January 26, 2001

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