Mos Def & Talik Kweli are Black
our score: 4.5 out of 5.0
else frustrated by the nominations for this year's Grammy awards?
Hip-hop junkies everywhere will agree that there was talent left
out left-and-right. In the words of the RZA, Will Smith may be
rapping, but it's not hip-hop. To put it differently, the music
industry is begging for a hip-hop artist category at the Grammy's.
1998 saw a list of incredible list of hip-hop albums, none of
which were recognized for what they are. This includes 1998's
releases by Goodie Mob,
Gang Starr and most of all, Mos Def and Talib Kweli are Black
on Rawkus records is the intellectual communion that hordes of
hip-hop fans have been waiting to partake in. Black Star
is littered with original sampling and mixing throughout ranging
from haunting guitar licks to pulsing kicks flowing below. The
inset brings the listener closer to the artists through comments
by each on each track as well as showing everyone how ridiculous
the "No Limit" image is with their own mockery of the stereotype
blueprint album cover.
But the best
lies in truly listening to what is being said. The way the two
twist lyrics around each other like serpents around a medical
cross is unlike anything being done today. Each posseses to use
their voices as rhythm and melody together by matching beats of
their lyrics to whichever rhythms they use, ranging from triplets
to prose to sixteenths.
than these is the lyrical content. "Astronomy" challenges the
listener to educate him/herself of their own history and understand
their roots to gain the gift the enlightenment brings. This is
done through references to Clark's "Faces at the Bottom of the
Well" as well as other powerful messages.
gives both a commentary and an advisory of what hip-hop is and
where it's going. No matter how they deny it, "Children's Story"
is a laughable spin on Slick Rick's classic about a certain MC
who claims "we can't hold him down." "Brown Skin Lady" profiles
what relationships have become as well as bits of life experience.
"Respiration" kicks some hard beats, while featuring Chicago's
own Common, in giving insight into walking the breathing city.
"Thieves in the Night" drives important life lessons with accentuations
by author Toni Morrison's messages for us all.
Star is a triumph for what hip-hop has the potential to become.
It calls for a self-reeducation as well as self-reevaluation,
while kicking some of the most diverse and driving beats out.
liked Mos Def & Talib Kweli are Black Star...