TALIB KWELI / “Re:Union Mixtape”
When it comes to hip hop, I usually follow my ears and augment that with stuff I pickup on recommendations from others. Sometimes I run across something that I really like and I share it but that doesn’t mean much other than “I like it. Yall check it out.” I say that because I cannot contextualize hip hop the way I can jazz and blues, or for that matter reggae and some other forms. In hip hop I might think of something as original, when it’s really derivative, i.e. somebody has already done precisely that and the person I’m listening to is merely copying rather than creating an original. All that said, I really like this Talib Kweli Re:Union Mixtape, the way it’s mixed (by DJ Selektah), and especially the beats (by Hi Tek). I’m a fan of trance music, long cuts that take you into other spheres of existence and once you reach nirvana keep you there for a minute, but I also dig fast moving, hit, move, hit, move, Ali shuffle, hit, hit, hit, jab, hook, knock ‘em out! And that’s precisely what this Mixtape does. Sounds like the sound a sucker’s body makes being hit by Ali in his prime. Some of those beats are so dirty, they could be arrested for dumping trash on public property. I also like Talib’s flow and his verbal skills. Some of the references require an awareness of world events, others are deep into literature, a few are just funny ass comebacks, cracks and wise-ass remarks. Talib is both serious as hell and crazy as hell, and that’s a hell of a good combination. He proves that there is no contradiction between being both serious and witty; kind of reminds me of Malcolm X. You want to have a party…listen to Malcolm run down the opposition or chide the brothers or reveal deep empathy for the sisters. (A lot of people slept on the fact that Malcolm’s initial break with The Messenger was behind Elijah acting the part of Biblical patriarch, which included bedding his spiritual daughters.) Yeah, yeah, I know, a lot of folk don’t want to hear more criticism of sexism and patriarchy but standing firm against sexism and patriarchy is the golden hallmark of brother Malcolm’s courageous display of manhood. Malcolm taught us that to be a man meant standing up for women by taking a stand against the exploitation of women even if it costs you your livelihood and ultimately your life. I believe Talib understands and is inspired by the example of Malcolm X. What many of us deeply dug about brother Malcolm was his smile and his humor. Boy, he could make you laugh. Most times at the silliness of our serious situation, at the foibles of our oppressor, and, yes, also about our own stupidness (note: “stupidness” is the state of stupid when you go past stupidity) that we too often displayed as though being wrong was a badge of honor. So this Re:Union Mixtape is deep in a genre I would define simply as Malcolm music, i.e. music that makes us move but at the same time makes us think, that makes us bob our domes but also encourages us to put our thinking caps on. The Hip Hop headz among our readers know about Black Star and have longed for a long time for the Talib Kweli/Mos Def duo to drop another "joint" joint—wasn’t Black Star a brilliant album? Well, I’ve got a real bonus for you in the jukebox. How about 30 live beats? Black Star (MOS DEF & TALIB KWELI) Reunion LIVE – Nokia Theatre, NYC – 05.30.09! Yeah, a full Black Star set. All the way live. I don’t know for sure how they got permission to record and distribute this but here it is: Black Star from a New York concert. Go here if you want to download Black Star live. So that’s the contemporary for this week: Talib’s Re:Union Mixtape and a live Black Star concert. That ought to hold you for a minute. ;->) —Kalamu ya Salaam Talib Kweli Re:Union Mixtape Playlist 01. "Intro" 02. "Revolutions Per Minute" 03. "In This World" 04. "Hip-Hop (Unreleased)" 05. "Back Again" 06. "Wishing On A Black Star" 07. "Just Begun ft. Jay Electronica, J. Cole, & Mos Def" 08. "Come Around ft. Termanology & Royce da 5'9 (produced by Statik Selektah)" 09. "Internet Connection" 10. "Let It Go ft. Dion" 11. "Testify ft. Styles P" 12. "Time" 13. "The Thrill Is Gone ft. Styles P (produced by Statik Selektah)" 14. "Can We Go Back" The "Reflection Eternal" Classics: 15. "Fortified Live ft. Mos Def & Mr Man" 16. "Chaos ft Bahamadia" 17. "The Express" 18. "Respiration ft. Common & Mos Def" 19. "Definition ft. Mos Def" 20. "RE:Defininition ft. Mos Def" 21. "Move Something" 22. "Ghetto Afterlife ft Kool G Rap" 23. "The Blast RMX ft. Erykah Badu" 24. "Good To You (produced by Kanye West)" 25. "Get By REMIX ft. Jay-Z, Mos Def, Kanye West, & Busta Rhymes (produced by Kanye West)" 26. "Back Up Offa Me" 27. "Piano (Hi Tek ft. Ghostface)" 28. "Music is Life (Hi Tek ft. Nas)" 29. "Hang Ups (NEW Reflection Eternal not on album)" 30. "Outro"
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