[Interview] Talib Kweli: You Must Have Forgot
Between teaching at Columbia College, creating content for rubyhornet, and spending time at studio sessions with the #SaveMoney and Village kids, I spend quite a considerable amount of time with people in their early 20′s. And I’ve started to notice something. The music that they listen to, the beats they choose to sample, and the styles they most emulate are strikingly similar to the ones that my friends and I had in our late teens and early 20′s. There’s a reason Chance The Rapper was as excited as me to do a session with Typical Cats, why Joey Bada$$ wants to bring back the Golden Era, why the Styles of Beyond article is one of the site’s most popular, and why Kids These Days’ new LP, Traphouse Rock, carries sounds that were buzzing in the hallways of my high school, the music is coming back around.
A return to the Golden Era isn’t cool coming from a bitter 45 year-old, but when it’s Mac Miller or Kendrick Lamar picking up the torch, a return trip to the past doesn’t look that bad. For many, Talib Kweli is synonymous with golden era and post-golden era Hip Hop (commonly referred to as The Rawkus era). Talib Kweli crafted one of Hip Hop’s best albums as part of Black Star with Mos Def, then gave the culture one of its most iconic singles in “Get By”, and several high quality LP’s on the solo side and with producers such as Hi-Tek and Madlib. He came into the game with the spirit of a jazz player, collaborating with various artists, and constantly working on new side projects. He was also one of the earliest champions of Kanye West, as well as the concept of the free digital album.
While we experience the second wave of the golden era, or whatever you want to call it, Talib Kweli is making some of the best music of his career. His recent mixtape with DJ Z-Trip, Attack The Block, was the real deal, and everything from his forthcoming full length, Prisoner of Conscious, has hit its mark as well. It feels like there’s a new energy surrounding Talib Kweli and his new music, although he’ll say it’s just that we are finally noticing. “I’m looking forward to hearing people say how they forgot how dope I am,” Kweli told me about the October 23rd release of 6th solo album. “They’ve been focusing on lesser MCs for so long.”
In this new interview, Talib talks with me about his new album, his new way of reaching the fans, what he remembers from his time on Rawkus, and much more. Hit the next page to read the interview in full. Enjoy.