Tag Archives: talib kweli

Music

Black Star’s Aretha mixtape

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Mos Def and Talib Kweli have launched blackstarhub.com, a pretty basic Tumblr blog.  It’s going to be your source for some free tunes and hopefully the launch of the Black Star Aretha Franklin mixtape.  Check out the latest track You already knew. 

Black Star "You Already Knew" by 3DDistro

Music

WILT (International Women’s Day Edition)

I’m two days late, but here’s this week’s version of What I’m Listening To. Given that today is International Women’s Day, this week’s edition kicks off with a track demanding greater respect for women.

Queen Latifah – “U.N.I.T.Y.” (Black Reign, Motown Records, 1993)

I actually heard this track for the first time a few weeks ago on an archived edition of WeFunk Radio. As soon as that saxophone loop kicked in I was hooked; it’s just so damn smooth. I could listen to this beat on repeat for days on end. But of course the lyrics are hype, too, with Queen Latifah preaching about the inherent beauty and worth of women (“You ain’t a bitch or a ho” she says on the hook) and threatening dudes who disrespect her. Based on the video I’m pretty sure she’d MESS YOU UP if you fronted on her – she looks straight up Wu-Tang here!!

Talib Kweli – “Ain’t Waiting ft. Outasight” (Gutter Rainbows, Blacksmith Music, 2011)

Talib’s new album has been out for a minute now, and like a lot of his efforts it’s mad inconsistent. This track, in my opinion, is one of the solider ones (yeah, ‘solider’, don’t bother looking it up). The hook is sweeeet like chocolate, and the beat keeps things moving. But seriously – TK – when is the next Black Star album coming out?

The Gaturs – “Gatur Bait” (Wasted, ?, 1970)

This song drips with pure, nasty funk (you may recognize if as the source of DJ Greyboy’s “Singles Party“). The bass line should be illegal. And the piano solo at around 2:10ish will have you grooving for sure. I have no idea who The Gaturs were, except that they make crazy good music and are from New Orleans.

Album Reviews Music

Stream the new Reflection Eternal Album

As we mentioned previously, Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek have reunited as Reflection Eternal and released a new album titled Revolutions Per Minute.

I’ve been pretty critical of Kweli over the last couple of years, and that’s not exactly the fairest journalism around.  It’s likely I’m too tainted by the greatness from the Black Star or the first Reflection Eternal albums to truly appreciate his more contemporary work.

Still, I’ve got high hopes for this new album.  The great thing is that you can stream the album for free from Entertainment Weekly.  I don’t know how long the album will remain up online, so check it out as soon as you can.

As for the tracklist, while I’m not a fan of City Playgrounds, I do think Back Again is a bit more classic Kweli.  However, Strangers may run away with the album.  Either that or Just Begun.

The best part about this disc is the variety of styles the duo uses.  There’s some old gospel-sounding samples that sneak in (In this World), and a couple of tracks hit you with the traditional ballad hooks (Ballad of Black Gold).  A few of them hit you in the face with a hard beat (So Good), or are covered with a gritty phone filter (Get Loose).

Music

Reflection Eternal reunites, tours.

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YES!  I’m terribly excited at Pitchfork’s news that Reflection Eternal (Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek, for those who don’t know) is reuniting and going on tour.  While I have the utmost respect for Kweli, I have to agree with Pitchfork’s words when they say:

In Hi-Tek, Kweli had a partner whose burbling, organic tracks perfectly complimented his thoughtful introspection and wordy, off-beat rhyme schemes. The result was arguably the most rewarding full-length of Kweli’s career; it still holds up pretty well today.

The tour dates are listed here. They’re all over the US (sadly, not in Canada), but hopefully you can find a date near you.  And below is Strangers, a track off the upcoming album.

Music

Mos Def and Talib reunite…for a minute

If you’re like me, you may feel that Talib and Mos have never stood a chance.  Their solo stuff so far has just not been able to live up to the astounding collaboration record they released as Black Star.  Sure there are standout tracks every once in a while, and Mos’ Black on Both Sides is fantastic.  But somehow, I can never shake the feeling that Black Star was close to the perfect record.

By that I mean one of those records you just don’t ever want to change tracks on.  You play it through over and over again.   One end to the other.

Pitchfork is reporting that they got together for a track on Mos’ new album The Ecstatic, and have finally released the video for it.  I like the track.

Featured Music

Songs that defined the decade!

by Angie B. Freshhip-hop

[Ed: Angie B. Fresh is the host of ‘The Corner‘ on CFUV 101.9 FM in Victoria, B.C.  She’s also the newest contributor to 4080 Records!  Read on for her inaugural post: a passionate, articulate survey of the last decade’s best hip-hop.  And if you know what’s good for you, tune in to her show every Friday from 5-6 p.m.]

Being a child of the late 80’s, this past decade has been the first I can remember from start to finish.  And while I can’t speak for my generational peers, I will always feel as though the 00’s belonged to me.  Rolling Stones called it the “decade of lost chances”, Time called it the “decade from hell”, but I look back on the double-zero’s as the decade of my musical awakening.  Thanks to my brother, I was introduced to hip hop in my early teens and its been my passion ever since.  On that note, I’d like to take a quick look back on the music that served as a soundtrack to my life.

In the interest of keeping this short and sweet, I picked one song per year.  Consider first that Pitchfork Media‘s feature on the best music of the decade contained 500 songs.  Picking just ten favorites was not an easy task, but here goes!

2000
Common – The Light
For a long time after I heard this Grammy-nominated love song I only had ears for Common.  Produced by the legendary Dilla, this soulful and sensual tribute is uplifting and romantic in the most genuine way.  Common’s well articulated love and respect for his woman had ladies everywhere wishing they were Erykah Badu.  “It don’t take a whole day to recognize sunshine”

2001
Nas – One Mic
An instant classic from one of the biggest names in rap, One Mic still gives me goose bumps.  The slow and subtle start, the crescendo into his rage-filled declaration of power, no wonder critics called in legendary. Two years ago I took a short road trip with a few fellow heads to watch Nas perform in Vancouver.  Hearing the opening bars to this track live was an experience of almost spiritual proportions.

2002
Talib Kweli – Get By
I can clearly recall the first time I heard this song; 7 years have passed and I still love it. Produced by Kanye West, it became Talib’s biggest hit to date as a result of its commercial appeal.  The beat is deliciously funky with its piano loops, handclaps and Nina Simone samples, while the lyrics are positively righteous: “They need somethin’ to rely on/ We get high on all types of drugs, when all you really need is love, to get by”.

2003
Little Brother – The Listening
9th Wonder’s beat samples Pete Rock and CL Smooth’s “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)” while Phonte and Big Pooh lament the fact that no one listens to full albums anymore or pays enough attention to the lyrics.  This is a song about hip hop by hip hop fans.  “I got suspicions your ear’s to the street where we’re whispering/ are you listening?”  I know I was…

2004
Danger Mouse & Jemini – Ghetto Pop Life
Epic beats from one of the most versatile producers in hip hop, nay music, combined with the inventive and energetic flows of a very talented but underrated MC resulted in a near perfect album.  It was hard for me to pick just one track off this album as the whole thing is clever, creative and fun so I opted for the title track.  It’s a real shame that this project was so slept on because the kind of musical chemistry found with this dynamic duo doesn’t come along often.

2005
Zion I – Bird’s Eye View
Zumbi’s lyrics in this ode to hip hop don’t really put it in the same realm as “I Used to Love H.E.R.”, however the sincerity of his unconditional love for the culture is obvious.  And when his poetry is coupled with the beautiful synthy production provided by Amp Live- complete with subtle strings and pretty piano loops, what you get is a deeply soulful tribute.  “She’s my heart, my mind, my spirit and my bones/ She’s the only one I know that would go across the globe/ Meet me in a foreign land, treat me like I’m home”

2006
Lupe Fiasco – Daydreamin’
This was a tricky pick for me because of the commercial success it garnered.  However I truly believe that good music is good music despite who listens to it.  I was late getting into Lupe, but once I did I knew I was hooked.  The master of metaphor, his slippery lyrical prowess is in full effect in this Jill Scott collabo.  The concept is imaginative, the sound is wonderfully jazzy, what more could you ask for?

2007
Blu & Exile – The World Is (Below The Heavens…)
This album came out of nowhere and then proceeded to blow my mind again and again the more I listened to it.  If you were like me you were asking yourself where the heck this kid Blu came from (he was 22 at the time of its release).  Exile has since become one of my favorite producers,  (check last year’s “Radio” if you like instrumentals) and Blu one of my favorite MCs.  Every beat is perfectly matched to its lyrics; every verse is revealingly heartfelt; this is an album I’ll be listening to for years to come.  “Hell is what you choose to call the present/ That’s why you’re going through it/ I just choose to call it stressin’/ To tell you fools the truth, I don’t feel that’s what I’m destined/ So you can call it hell but bro, I’ll just say I’m below the heavens”

2008
Q-Tip – Gettin’ Up
This sophomore release was a long time coming and worth the wait.  Being a Tribe fan, I welcomed that familiar high-pitched voice back into my playlists immediately.  The vibe is mellow and warm at points yet Tip sounds enthusiastic and energetic throughout. With help from the likes of Raphael Saadiq, D’angelo, and Norah Jones, Q-Tip put together a smooth sounding and perfectly timed celebration of life and love; you can’t help but get into the spirit.  Welcome back Tip!

2009
Tanya Morgan – She’s Gone AKA Without You
Hands down my favorite album of the year, Brooklynati had me wishing I could take up residence in this fictional locale and spend my nights watching the “Hardcore Gentlemen” perform their 15 year old hit 15 times (only people who have been to Brooklynati will get that one).  “She’s Gone” has been described by some as our generation’s “I Used To Love H.E.R” (so I like Common okay??) and it’s just one of the many infectious tracks on the album.  Production from Von Pea and Aeon will have you reminiscing about the so-called Golden Era of hip hop when well-cut jazz loops and soulful samples laid the canvas for thoughtful, witty rhymes. This is one you can pop in and listen to front to back and not have to hit that skip button.

Image from: http://media.photobucket.com/image/hip-hop/nycson98/LoveofHipHop-Collage.jpg

Art Cool Music

New Kweli Documentary on the loose!

In what should be the dopest documentary film released in the next little while, Video Rahim is releasing Talib Kweli: The movie.

Check out the trailer below:

Thanks for the boys over at Okayplayer for publicizing this.