First up, the first track I ever heard of Kweli's "The Manifesto"
I heard this track on the Rawkus records 'Lyricist Lounge' compilation back in... at a guess, 1998? I had just landed a job in an indie record store, and I was allowed to listen to whatever music I wanted to ALL DAY. It was, Yes, my dream job and I used the time to really explore music and find out everything it had to offer me.
During this time I became enamoured with conscious (and experimental) Hip Hop. Blackalicious, Talib, Mos Def were at the forefront of the thinking man's Hip-Hop and they had something to teach us all.... plus they really fucking made your head nod. Here's a track from Mos & Kweli's side project Black Star - The track is "Definition":
This next track is another example of Talib challenging the ideas of his listeners. It looks at the way America, and humans look at the media, and morality. The start of the track specifically deals with something relevant to myself, the bombing in Oklahoma City which happening in the 90's, (For which US native terrorist Timothy McVeigh was convicted and executed.).
Well I was IN Oklahoma at the time of that bombing in a town called Yukon, a suburb on the Western edge of Oklahoma city. I remember the morning the bombing happened, because while we sat in our school meeting area for assembly, we felt the ground shudder ripples from the blast. I was there and saw the way it affected people as they searched for the culprit, eager to have someone to blame... and someone to pay. Tragedy can bring out the best and the worst in humans, and it's important to remember that.
The next track was Talib's first real "hit' song. the beat was made by Kanye West, a huge supporter of Kweli, and was originally intended to be a Kanye West song. But after hearing the beat Kweli convinced Kanye to donate it to him. Obviously this was a very good move on Talib's part. The track bangs like a motherfucker whilst always keeping true to Kweli's message:
This next video is from Def Poetry Jam, and is a short but worthwhile listen. It's a spoken word piece by Talib about Religion and Spirituality:
To close out this Retrospectivism I'll leave you with 2 of his tracks from his new record "Gutter Rainbows". His first album which is released TOTALLY INDEPENDENTLY. The first track features one of my favourite rappers, a female emcee called Jean Grae, the second track is just a sick album track.
Actually fuck that, here's another track. This one is off of a Jean Grae mixtape. Talib rocks the hook and verse 3. Slams like a tree trunk swung by the Hulk.