Talib Kweli – Prisoner of Consciousness album review

Perhaps when Talib Kweli recently defended Rick Ross’ reprehensible lyrics on U.E.O.N.O by calling him “misguided” he did so in a glimpse of projection and subconscious self-reflection. Both may have a tad more in common than the average would assume in terms of identity issues, so while Rick Ross’ latest offering is tentatively titled Mastermind, Talib’s is called prisoner of consciousness.

There may not be a more fitting title for this album, as Kweli strays from his typical social commentary and goes for more commercial appeal…but shows he’s very conscious of the line that represents full mainstream accessibility and acceptance and stands far from it.

It’s not as if the Brooklyn wordsmith is less lyrically inclined, his trademark rapid-fire rasp is still in full force throughout the 15 track effort. He still drops metaphors with the deft of LeBron James dropping the ball into the cup, and still relentlessly mows through drums with astounding assonance.

On the Melanie Fiona assisted “Ready Set Go” Kweli openly ponders, “What if I listened to haters and never bothered hittin’ high water marks ’cause the markets flooded with garbage?” in a dazzling display that accentuates his reputation as a top notch lyricist.

The “Paid in Full” inspired “Turnt Up” finds Kweli ripping through those famous drums (augmented with an entrancing vocal harmony) with vigor, staking his claim and preventing the song from being a novelty. On “Push Thru” he outflows Currensy and goes toe to toe with Compton kingpin Kendrick Lamar, he who’s widely considered the best lyricist in Hip-Hop.

It’s not that Kweli has declined in any sense of the word, when he’s on, he’s ON. It’s just that on this album those moments are few and far between. The album spends a notable amount of time trying to grab the fairer sex’s attention. In one instance Talib discusses the highs and lows of courting with R&B ingenue Miguel on “Come Here“, and he tackles relationship issues on “Hamster Wheel”. Each are lyrically dense narratives, but therein lies the problem.

As versatile as Kweli has proven himself content wise through the years, he’s also historically maintained the same delivery no matter the beat. When one is straying from their artistic comfort zone, it’d seem like they’d go all the way. Talib Kweli just doesn’t have the charisma to consistently and engage the top 40 listener. That’s not a bad thing, but it is when you spend the core of an album trying to.

The production consistently delivers, however Talib doesn’t always. When it comes to mass appeal in 2013 the cold truth is that there is just more to it than lyrics alone, and Kweli seems unwilling to experiment with his flow or delivery, and that results in a lopsided album. Most artists would accept an album containing a bulk of tracks successful due to their trademark qualities with a few reachers that may not connect, but this is just the opposite.

Unfortunately Talib Kweli’s attempted prison break from consciousness wasn’t entirely successful.

Black Star Tour Dates

Rock The Bells Presents MOS DEF & TALIB KWELI ARE BLACK STAR Performing Groundbreaking 1998 Self-Titled Debut Album

New Tour Dates Announced As Part Of Guerilla Union’s Strategic Partnership with House Of Blues Entertainment

Mos Def and Talib Kweli are currently on the road as part of the ROCK THE BELLS PRESENTS Club Tour. The duo is performing their groundbreaking debut album Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star. They also performed the album at the Rock The Bells Festival Series shows in San Francisco and New York, as well as an abbreviated version in Los Angeles.

The tour is part of the Guerilla Union and House of Blues Entertainment strategic-alliance that will bring festival brands and unique properties to the club and theater circuit and, in doing so, has created North America’s premiere live hip hop partnership. The ROCK THE BELLS PRESENTS Club and Theater Series features seminal artists performing their iconic albums in their entirety.

09.21 Detroit, MI – St Andrews
09.22 Cleveland, OH – House of Blues
09.23 Chicago, IL – House of Blues
09.27 Miami Beach, FL – Fillmore
09.28 Atlanta, GA – Tabernacle
10.05 New York, NY – Irving Plaza
10.06 Los Angeles, CA – House of Blues
10.29 Las Vegas, NV – House of Blues
11.03 Anaheim, CA – House of Blues
11.04 Charlotte, NC – Fillmore
11.05 Cincinnati, OH – Bogart’s
11.11 Indianapolis, IN – Egyptian Room

About Guerilla Union
Established in 2000, Guerilla Union has developed into one of the premiere core urban lifestyle brands in the U.S., manifesting itself in many forms including music, events, media and fashion. Guerilla Union’s mission is to create experiential platforms, unique content and provide services that develop artists and their communities. Guerilla Union is a creative engineering corps dedicated to supporting artists and shaping urban culture

Talib Kweli Album Listening Party On Hip Hop Nation video @realtalibkweli

Talib Kweli Album Listening Party On Hip Hop Nation video [Part 1]

To promote his recent album, “Gutter Rainbows”, Talib stopped by Sirius XM’s Hip Hop Nation for an album listening party. He took calls from listeners and performed a couple of tracks from the new album. Sean Price and Nigel Hall were also in studio to perform a couple of “Gutter Rainbows” songs. In part 1 Talib talks about the title of his new album, his split from Warner Brothers and performs Palookas with Sean Price. itstheBino was there to cover it.

Reflection Eternal – In The Red video

Talib Kweli (Prod. Hi-Tek) – In the Red video

Artist: Talib Kweli
Produced by: Hi-Tek
Album: Revolutions Per Minute
Blacksmith Records

Director: Niim The Dream
Co-producer: Jonathan Towles
Editor: Sully Reed (Sergio Ramirez)
Visual FX: Niim The Dream
Artwork (artist posters): Slava Matisic aka Nemesis
Lighting: Paul Tunge
Green Green Studio: Gerilja Film/ Farzad Samsami
Make-up: Silje Lie

Talib Kweli Free Los Angles Show Tonight To Benefit a Local Shelter

Talib Kweli Free Los Angles Show Tonight To Benefit a Local Shelter

Tonight, fans in Los Angeles can see a FREE Talib Kweli performance featuring material from his upcoming album, ‘Gutter Rainbows,’ on-sale January 25th. The show, presented by Myspace Music, will be held at The Roxy on 9009 West Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA. Doors at 9PM. All ages welcome.

Free admission only with a canned good or blanket for the needy. The goods will be donated to a local shelter for Thanksgiving. Also performing: Strong Arm Steady, Tunji & Jayson Rose with DJs, Luxerbrown, Uncle Pauly & Jay-P.