September 29, 2019

Black Star "Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are..." (9/29/98)

"The BDP-inspired chorus of "Definition" ("1-2-3 / Mos Def and Talib Kweli / We come to rock it on to the tip top / Best alliance in hip-hop / Why-oh...") sums up the nature of Black Star's entire debut. Documentarians (of hip-hop's roots) par excellence, Brooklyn's Mos Def and Talib Kweli come correct with old school-flavored verbal finesse. "Children's Story" is a sly update of Slick Rick's 1988 classic, and "Respiration" is a supreme, rugged rhyme schism featuring Common. Backed by a bevy of boombastic beats from Da Beatminerz, DJ Hi Tek, and Shawn J. Period, Black Star remind us that hip hop is about lyrical skills -- not solely commercial excess." - Vibe Magazine, November 1998. Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star is an album I revisit quite often, so it's no surprise that I remember it on its anniversary every year. While new material has been teased for several years - possibly with Madlib behind the boards - no release dates are pending. Hip-Hop would benefit greatly from their collective return, and Mos Def should sit atop many lists as one of the greatest lyricists ever! I'd also argue for the "Flying High" remix to "Respiration" as one of Pete Rock's greatest remixes; he really put his foot in the beat, and adding Black Thought made it an absolutely perfect song.

An original 2-page advertisement for the Black Star LP...