Mos Def's best mate expands hip hop's horizons
Talib Kweli grew up in the same neighbourhood as Mos Def, they’ve often collaborated, and the two even run an education centre in Brooklyn. No surprise, then, to find Mos Def among the guests on Talib Kweli’s album, alongside Common, Res and Bilal.
Whether he’s being flippant or concerned, it’s lyrically potent stuff, and musically he deploys most of the trademark devices of modern hip hop.
Yet he also draws on a wider heritage of modern African-American music, so that on “Keynote Speaker” he almost becomes a modern-day Gil Scott-Heron, while “Waiting For The DJ” invokes the spirit of George Clinton. Refreshingly clich