"If lyrics sold, then truth be told
lyrically, I'd be
Talib Kweli "
Jay Z - Moment of Clarity - The Black Album
If truth be told, I've been a fan of Talib Kweli since he rapped "Still more blacks is dying, kids aint living they trying, how to make a slave by Willie Lynch is still applying" on the Black Star album back in 1998. He's since gone on to record three solo albums; Train of Thought, Quality and the just released Beautiful Struggle.
Not your average rapper Kweli has become quite well known as an intelligent lyricist and gained some mainstream attention for the 2002 single "Get By" which dealt with the everyday struggle of life (A favorite topic of mine). Now how many rappers can the words intelligent lyrics be applied too? Still thinking ? If you said Nellie, Mase of Fabulous or Master P you are truly indeed beyond my help. The actual answer currently would be not many ....Especially the guys who gain the majority of the press from the mainstream.
I also got to give the brother respect for being a part owner of a book store in Brooklyn. Wow a rapper who owns a book store, unheard of. Sometimes I wonder how many rappers can actually read a book so to see this young man owning a bookstore instead of 10 Mercedes benzes and a million pieces of flashy crass jewelry is actually quite novel....Well quite novel if you're not into the underground.
That said, Beautiful Struggle is a very nice album. I'm loathe to apply the title classic because the beats while hot just don't strike me on the first two listens as actual classic. I'll give it 4 mics out of 5. I'll admit though I haven't actually listened to the whole thing yet but given I've heard 11 of 13 songs at least twice and am currently working on track 12 and 13 I've got to give the brother props for a beautifully put together album.
Standout tracks include the Pharell produced Broken Glass which tells the age old story of a country girl whose dreams die in the city, Black Girl featuring Jean Grae (currently the only female mc not trying to show skin to sell records), We got the Beat with its old school planet rock feel and the opening track Going Hard.
Again truth be told, aside from "Get By" I really wasn't feeling his last album Quality. Maybe it had something to do with the crass commercialism of his first single Blame it on the DJ but I never got into the album as I should. This album has definitely redeemed him in my eyes.