TALIB KWELI SPEAKS HIS MIND
by - JR of the SF Bayview
Talib Kweli is a internationally known Hip Hop artist who has
influenced many with his empowering lyrics that tell listeners to
better the social conditions around them. He was in the Bay Area
recently performing when we got a chance to kick back and talk about
JR: Tell us about your new project? And how is it different from the
Black Star and Reflection Eternal albums?
TALIB: The new album I got is called 'Quality'. It's about my growth
as an artist, as a man, all of that. I've been working on it for
about a year. The Black Star album, was just kind of me and Mos Def,
we had a lot of things on our chest, and we ain't never had a record
out like that, you know. The Reflection Eternal album was about me
and Hi-Tek just trying to polish that and trying to introduce
ourselves and hold our ground in Hip Hop. This album is about me
growing as a musician and all of that.
JR: What motivates you to do political music?
TALIB: I try to do all types of music. There always needs to be a
balance, that's all I know how to do, knowwhatI'msayin. That's what I
know how to do best, so I just work at what I know how to do best. I
like to go to parties, I like to have fun, but everything has to be
balanced in life.
JR: When you wasn't rapping, what were you doing?
TALIB: Playing baseball, watching movies.
JR: How has your child motivated you?
TALIB: I started taking the music and what I was trying to do with it,
as far as a career, more seriously, when I realized that I was going
to have children. So that's the most direct impact other than that,
creatively and spiritually it just enhances what I'm trying to do in
JR: Who are your musical influences and how did you get into rapping?
TALIB: If I started to try to name all of my musical influences, it
would be so long and I would feel like I'm cheating, because I would
always forget somebody. I was always into poetry and plays. I
started writing rhymes in junior high school, and it just developed
and developed and developed, you know, into what I am doing now.
JR: Was Black Star your first album?
TALIB: I was on a album with this group called Mood from Cincinnati.
It was a dope album, I was on about six cuts on the album. It came in
on Blunt/TVT, but Black Star was the album that really established me.
JR: How does it feel to walk down the street and be recognized?
TALIB: It feels good to be able to walk down the street, and be me,
and be able to support my family and say what I want to say, and do
what I want to do through this music. It's a good feeling.
JR: What are some of the negative things about being in this business?
TALIB: It's hard work. Hard work is never negative, it builds
character. Everybody needs to work hard. You miss your family,
sometimes you don't live up to people's expectations of what they see
of you through your art, all types of things.
JR: What are you going to do when you stop rocking mics?
TALIB: I'm always going to be doing that.
JR: Where do you see Talib in the future?
TALIB: I want to learn an instrument, I feel like people that make
beats are so good at it that I want to expand, I wanna play an
instrument. Piano, maybe.