[Interview] Talib Kweli: You Must Have Forgot
RubyHornet: You made a post on Twitter a little bit ago and said, “I’m glad y’all liking the new music… I’m always working but I strategized different this time…” What was it that clicked or made you switch up your approach?
Talib Kweli: Just knowing that I have dropped a lot of great music that so called fans don’t check for because it aint pushed to them right. I have many fans who think I stopped after Black Star or “Get By”, because they don’t see me on TV or hear me on radio. I needed to get their attention. You shouldn’t have to miss me, I’m always here.
RubyHornet: ”Push Thru” features Curren$y and Kendrick Lamar. Is it any validation for you to see them, and other artists like them, that are young and making the substance-filled Hip Hop that you have not just championed, but really helped to innovate and push along?
Talib Kweli: Curren$y set a gold standard for independent artists. He never waited for the industry, he created industry around him. I learned from watching him, AND I love his music. Kendrick came by my house years ago when Devi Dev and DJ Eque used to have a radio show there, and I knew then that I wanted him on a song. When I saw him blowing up a year ago I decided to ask before he got too busy. Kendrick is the truth and it excites me that a new generation fucks with him so heavy. He ain’t flossing, he look like a dude from the neighborhood, but his rhymes shine. It’s real.
RubyHornet: I have an old Complex Magazine cover on one of the walls at my parents’ apartment in Chicago where I grew up. It features Kanye West, the Beastie Boys, and yourself on a golf cart and kind of profiles all of you as representing a different generation in Hip Hop. What do you remember about that time and that shoot? Looking back on it, it’s a pretty cool piece of history.
Talib Kweli: Kanye was starting to blow up, but he was still not as big as the Beasties and he was geeing out to meet them. I had been touring with them, so they were my friends at that point, but the history of that shoot was not lost on me back then. I really can’t explain why they did that cover, or what the point was, but I am very glad it was done.