Talib has been standing strong in the hip hop scene since 1998, when he and fellow rap genius Mos Def released the classic album Mos Def and Talib Kweli Are Black Star. Since then, the Hip Hop general has released four albums, worked with the legend Mary J Blige and with Hip Hop’s favourite rapper, Kanye West. I chat to Talib to find out what he has planned for us next.
Hey Talib. What have you been up to recently?
My focus at the moment has been all about Gutter Rainbows. I am about to work on the album Prisoner of Conscious for Blacksmith. I am excited about the group Strong Arm Steady’s new album, Arms and Hammers. have also been working on Jean Grae’s Cake or Death LP and some more Idle Warship material with Res.
You have a loyal but exclusive UK fan base. Do you plan to try and break the mainstream UK market?
I do concerts in the UK at least twice a year. I sold out at two concerts last year; I did Roundhouse in Camden in October. I am not sure when the next one is, but I will keep you guys in the loop for sure!
You have worked with major artists, such as Kanye West. How was that experience?
I happened to meet Kanye when he came to my recording sessions looking for Mos Def. Back then, he was just a producer making beats for everyone. Nobody knew he had it in him to rap. It was great to work with him, we had and we still do have a lot of mutual respect for one another.
You also worked with Mary J Blige. How was that?
Mary was one of the most gracious, professional artist’s I have ever worked with. I would love to work with her again.
You quite a socially conscious rapper. What influenced you to take that alternative path?
The music I make is not alternative hip hop, it is REAL hip hop. All that other stuff they play on the radio is the alternative…
What advice would you give to up and coming rappers?
Ignore the industry and create your own legend.