Music News

Talib Kweli

The term "conscious rap" needs to be excised from hip-hop's vernacular. Nobody's quite sure what it means: Music that doesn't focus on rims and butts? Songs wherein the listener's life isn't explicitly threatened? Kweli has said he doesn't like being pigeonholed by the designation, and the release of his sixth solo album, Eardrum, seems an appropriate time to let him go. Eardrum is a heaping mess, neither smart nor groundbreaking, and it's loaded with cliches. "It's been a long journey, but they say that life's path is not about the destination, it's all about the journey," Kweli informs us on "NY Weather Report." Also, if you can make it in New York City, evidently, "you can make it anywhere." "More or Less" catalogues how he feels about a number of mundane issues: "More building, less destroying," then "more marijuana, less coke, more freestyles, less written, more history, less mystery, more Beyoncé, less Britney" and "more happiness, less misery" would be neat. Kweli's shrill platitudes are about as effective as an abstinence campaign. Eardrum does boast top-notch production, though, and Kweli's adroit flow almost makes up for the crappy lyrics.
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Ben Westhoff
Contact: Ben Westhoff