ALTHOUGH Mos Def is the better-known half of rap duo Black Star, Talib Kweli is an equally potent artist, as he showed on the inspirational, Kanye West-produced “Get By,” one of the best rap singles of 2002.
On his third solo album, the talented, politically minded Brooklyn rapper extends his impressive recording resume with another strong batch of songs that are as entertaining as they are thought-provoking.
The heavy, brooding “Drugs, Basketball & Rap,” which features powerful guest turns from Planet Asia and Phil the Agony, takes sensationalist rappers to task for their shallow boasts about violence and drugs, while the bombastic, horn-propelled “Supreme, Supreme” features Kweli and Mos Def trading verses about the power of taking charge of your life. “Ms. Hill” is an impassioned open letter to Lauryn Hill in which he offers to help the multiple Grammy-winner-turned-recluse navigate the treacherous waters of the music industry.
By offering her a helping hand and expressing his admiration for Hill’s meaningful material, Kweli demonstrates why his music is just as significant.