Wild Style Wednesday Review: Mos Def & Talib Kweli, Black Star 


blackstarThis is another album that almost made my top 10 most influential albums. The lyrical content that is displayed on this album is damn near untouchable. Mos Def & Talib Kweli go together like mashed potatoes and gravy. They mesh on just about every level that you can possibly imagine. This album came out originally in 1998 and this is an album that I feel will echo in the hallways of Hip-Hop for a long time. I remember being in eleventh grade and learning about poetic devices. When I found this album, it was the epitome of everything I had learned about.

From the minute that “Astronomy (8th Light)” kicks off, Kwel & Mos pass the mic back and forth shouting similes and metaphors faster than most people can comprehend. “Definition” is a great upbeat track with Mos & Kweli rapping about the things going on in the country (at the time), and why they are the “definition” of a group. “Children’s Story” has Mos Def remaking a classic by the same name that was done by Slick Rick many years earlier. Mos puts his own clever twist on the track and it makes for a very good tribute to the original.

My favorite track of the album though is “Hater Players”, and it will always be one of my favorite tracks. I remember the first time I heard Kweli & Mos spit on “Hater Players”, my jaw just dropped. There is so much thought that goes into the track by both emcees. Kwe spits, “Yo, with the quickness, so swift you miss this lyrical fitness/ now get this, these emcees wanna test me like litmus, bear witness/ I’m like shot clocks, interstate cops, and blood clots/ my point is, your flow can stop!”. Mos takes over, “Visions occupy my synaptic space command and shake, to illustrate my mind’s landscape/ the tall grass, the low plains, the mountainous ridges/ thickets among the forests, rivers beneath the bridges/ presence of hilltops, lit up with tree tops eavesdrop; and hear the incline of sunshine, nine stones in orbit, refuse to forfeit they all form a cipher, and they came to observe it.”

All in all, this album is everything that a Hip-Hop classic should be. Not many emcee duos can do it quite like Mos & Kweli, and these guys put on a career making display on this album. Like I said previously, this might be some of the best rhyme skill that you will ever hear. If you haven’t heard this album, you haven’t heard Hip-Hop.

9.5/10

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