Music News

Talib Kweli

"They say you can't please everyone," Talib Kweli declares at the outset of his latest CD, 2007's Eardrum, and his career stands as proof of that maxim. Since the days of Black Star, a 1998 disc that teamed him with Mos Def, critics have championed Kweli as a rhymer whose interests extend well beyond stereotypical narratives about women with too much booty for one man to handle. Take "Hostile Gospel, Pt. 1 (Deliver Us)," which decries everything from meth production to new rappers he dubs baby seals "'cause they club you to death." Unfortunately, though, only a relatively small slice of the public has embraced his work in comparison with music from the genre's biggest playas, and this situation clearly frustrates Kweli. He's said his next recording will probably be called Prisoner of Conscious — a title that speaks for itself. But if the masses remain beyond Kweli's reach, his refusal to compromise keeps his cult following well-pleased.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts