April 13, 2014

Black Star "NEXT" Feature In Vibe Magazine (April, 1998)

"Sugarless but flavorful hip-hop styles are what Mos Def and 22-year-old poetic conspirator/fellow Brooklyn-dweller Talib Kweli serve up on their Rawkus debut, Black Star. Between Kweli's scorching "Fortified Live" single and Mos Def's stirring "Universal Magnetic" 12-inch (both on Rawkus), the duo had 1997's thunderground movement under lock and key. Inspired by Marcus Garvey's radical alternaship of the same name, the two hypercharged griots have combined to take the art of boombap back to the future. "With jazz, you'd have artists from two different schools pairing up just to see what would happen," says Mos. "And that's what I always wanted to see in hip-hop."

"To Kweli, a tag-team partnership with Mos just felt natural - for B-boys will always be boys. "We started out rhyming in the park, with no money, no tokens," Kweli says. "And there's nothing wrong with loving what you do and doing it for the love." Kweli believes that the era of poetic playas is gangsta limpin' on its last leg. "There's a lot of bullshit negativity shining," he says, half mad. "And Black Star is like a solar eclipse." No doubt, Mos and Kweli will save the day... "I love acting, but my first passion is music," says Mos. "Sometimes I wish I could just put on a mask, put out material, and have nobody know who I was. I don't care for being famous - beyond using my celebrity (status) to actually say something." - Vibe Magazine (4/98). Full "Next" feature below and "Respiration" above.