Since first hitting widespread recognition with Black Staróhis uber-critically lauded trio with Mos Def and DJ Hi-Tekóin 1998, Talib Kweli has married alluring production style with smart, dynamic lyricism. Albums like 2000ís Reflection Eternal and 2004ís The Beautiful Struggle have established him as a beatsmith with both brains and commercial savvy. His new record, Ear Drum, arrives in February, and includes guests Justin Timberlake, Norah Jones, and underground queen Jean Grae. We spoke to Talib on the streets of Los Angeles.
1)Iím from Brooklyn so Iím keen on Caribbean foodójerk chicken, curried snapper, plantains. I like trying out different things on my palate.
2)My father was a DJ. He had a huge record collection that was too big for the basement. There were records stacked all over the house. I used to listen to these records from the Ď50s and Ď60s. The genre didnít matter. He was into Junior Walker & the All Stars and Bob Dylan, Little Anthony & the Imperials and Bloodstone.
3)I donít like flies, especially flies in my ears.
4)If I wasnít doing what I do Iíd probably be teaching at a high school. Thatís the age the kids need the most work. Both my parents are educators. I donít think I could have a regular job. I need something thatís rewarding.
5)I like to hike. Iím down here in L.A. and thereís trails all over the place.
6)My best gig was in a train station in Johannesburg, South Africa. It was like Grand Central Station. I went with this activist group, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. I donít know how they secured a government-controlled train station for us to perform in but they did. It was me, Jeru the Damaja, Black Thought, and Dead Prez, and it was just phenomenal.
7)Iím not really a fan of country music, though I appreciate the sentiment. Country is very similar to hip-hop. Both are very folksy. The stories are similar. But, Iím not a fan of how it hits my ear. And I definitely donít like heavy metal. Other than that I can appreciate anything.
8)I gotta get off the Red Bull. Iíve been drinking just before I perform and thatís not really a good habit (laughs). I also jump rope before I perform. I did a little bit of boxing training last year and one of the first things you learn is how to jump rope.
9)My first crush on a famous person was either Vanessa Williams or Pebbles.
10)Iíd like to do something about AIDS in Africa. Thatís where the worst problems with the disease are. Thereís a real lack of education or resources even if people know whatís going on.
17. "Far From It... Justin is a good singer." In response to Reply # 14 Sun Jan-28-07 07:16 AM by High Chief
but that's not the point.
The thing is, that I don't understand why most Hip Hop artists tryin' to make collabos with popstars like Justin.
I'm Justin askin myself - why Justin? Ain't there at least 1000singers who have the same talent and professionism like justin has?
I know that development in Life is important, especially in Hip Hop. Talib does not want to make another RE or Quality, he needs to proceed. But to me it's a mystery that some/most rappers at any time tryin' work with scott storch, timbaland...
Don't get me wrong, I love Talibs Music and I have each of his albums and I accept his decision in doin a song with justin. I trust Talib.