Real Talk w/ Talib Kweli

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How has the enthusiasm for hip hop changed for you in the last ten years?

My enthusiasm for hip hop only grows every year. Because I travel the world doing hip hop music I always get to see wonderful examples of it.

As far as what you and Yasiin symbolize in terms of the era of hip hop you came up in and the platform of hip hop as a whole, is there even the slightest difference between what Black Star WAS and what Black Star stands for today?

Black Star is exactly what it was when we started. Yasiin and I have grown tremendously as artists, and not always in the same direction, but Black Star remains pure. That is the reason that no matter what else we accomplish as individuals we can always come back to Black Star together.

Many of us have a friend or friends we consider to be a “brother” or “sister” that knows how we think, our life story, triumphs and struggles and can pretty much finish our sentences when we speak. Describe the friendship and brotherhood you share with Yasiin Bey and how that closeness translates to the great chemistry we all see on stage.

Yasiin is definitely my brother from another mother. Black Star was formed out of friendship, brotherhood and solidarity. I have skills that he admires and he has skills that I admire. In that sense we always challenge each other to be better.


In all the years you and Yasiin Bey have been friends, what's the best piece of advice he has ever given you? Vice versa?

Never run on other people's schedule is the best advice Yasiin has given me. You would have to ask him what's the best advice he received from me.

With the unlimited amounts of knowledge available for the brain to consume on the internet and all of the wealth of information that one can access at a public library, which one is the more valuable resource for knowledge, the world wide web or the public library?

If you don't know the author then you can't know what you are reading. Too many anonymous authors online, so if you lack the proper research skills online research is worthless. However, if you have the skills, online research can be a rewarding experience.

Has the thought/opportunity in the acting field whether it be television or movies ever been something you wanted to do, perhaps in the near future?

I am too distinctly me to just audition and get a part. I will have to be sought out by a filmmaker or make my own films if I wanted to be in movies. I am too much associated with a hip hop persona.

Is it true that Gutter Rainbows has been your most profitable project/album to date?

Gutter Rainbows is certainly, relatively my most successful project. I've had bigger hits and more sales, but because Gutter Rainbows was indie I made more money faster.

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Ya’ll use pretty cool mics on stage, what kind of mics are those, any cool story behind how Black Star started using those mics?

I forget which company makes the mics but that’s all Yasiin’s idea. Funny story, last time we were in Honolulu an engineer who we did a session with held the mics for ransom when his boss didn’t pay him, which had nothing to do with us. We had to call the goons out. Thankfully the situation was resolved peacefully and we got them back.

What are you observing from the crowd when you are rhyming on stage, talk about your perspective?

Every crowd is different and every show is different. Sometimes I am rhyming right to the crowd. Sometimes I am performing thinking about what I want to eat later or something trivial. And sometimes I am in a zone like no one else is there.

Lastly, how are doing Black Star shows different these days and what do you look forward to the most about rocking the stage with Yasiin?

Black Star shows are very similar to how we started rhyming in the park 25 years ago. That is actually why i look forward to doing them.

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March 22
The Republik
Show Time: 8pm
Doors: 6pm Lounge Doors (21+) | 8pm Concert Hall
Age: 18+

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