Talib Kweli review

October 6, 2007


Talib Kweli – Eardrum

“I don’t remember the first time I heard Kweli, I don’t remember what I was doing there were no remembered witnesses to my doings. But it seems like I’d known him forever…he’s always punctual with his mouth, listen to his revolution of syllables…” are the opening lines artered by hip-hop poet extraodinare Sarah Jones on the first track called “Everything Man” on New York native Talib Kweli’s album “Eardrum”. Kweli hires the production skills of Madlib who borrows well from the 1970 funk era and together with Kweli’s lyrics; they present an awesome introductory to this, his third solo album.

Born and bread in the ‘Big Apple’s borough of Brooklyn, Kweli is one of the few rappers who take their craft seriously, and refrain from repeatedly making money, women and bling-bling their subject matter. Before going solo, Kweli recorded two full albums with the gifted DJ Hi-Tek as Reflection Eternal, thereafter with Mos Def as Blackstarr under the now defunct Rawkus label.

He struggled to win accalim from fans as a solo artist, with many criticising him for breaking up with Hi-Tek after their succesful combination on Reflection Eternal’s only release “Train of Thought”. However it is safe to say that he has finally found the formula with “Eardrum”.

Really what lacked for Kweli on his previous solo albums were good beats that Hi-Tek had produced so well when they worked together. The two former Reflection Eternal members reunite on “More or Less” with rising soul singer Dion – discovered by Hi-Tek – on the chorus. Here Kweli’s critics the current state of affairs in the hip-hop industry where they wish for more of originality and less of fakeness amongst otehr things.

Other outstanding tracks on this album are “Say Something” featuring South Afrcan Jazz pioneer Abdulah Ibrahim’s daughter Jean Grae and produced by Black Eyed Peas member Will.I.Am. Although a bit valgur, Grae is outstanding on this song with lines such as “Open your mouth I dare you, chocking you out ’til you can’t suck any air through…they knew I was bad news, look at the tatoos” and dicribes herself and Kweli as the ‘Last Two Action Heroes!’

Back to Kweli, his MC skills really blossom on “The Perfect Beat” next to Hip-Hop heavyweight KRS-One.

What is a hip-hop record without the production skills of Kanye West nowadays? Kweli had to employ the hot producers skills and justice is done on the track “In the Mood”.

As rising producer Justin Timberlake lends Kweli his services on “The Nature” where he also sings the chorus.

Look out for the two-part “Hostile Gospel/Diliver Us” with Carrebean Dancehall star Sizzla on the second part.

In terms of originality, this is the best Hip-Hop album by far by any artist this year!

Five star!!!


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