Blue Note Jazz Club is presenting world-renowned hip-hop artist and activist Talib Kweli, Thursday and Friday, September 18-19. Kweli appears in support of his most recent album, Prisoner of Conscious (released in mid-2013).
Over the past five years, Blue Note Jazz Club has put a prime focus on showcasing special hip-hop programs. Recent shows have included Kweli & DJ Hi-Tek (2009), Lauryn Hill (2011), Yasiin Bey (with special guests Lupe Fiasco and Kanye West - 2011), Rakim & The Roots (2011), Questlove (2011), and Big Daddy Kane (2013), among others.
Brooklyn-based rapper Talib Kweli earned his stripes as one of the most lyrically-gifted, socially aware and politically insightful rappers to emerge in the last 20 years. He travels around the globe as one of rap's most in-demand performers combined with his conversations with political activists and his genre-straddling work with Idle Warship and others caused Kweli to realize that he was limited in a sense, a prisoner of sorts of his own success as one of the world's best rappers with something significant to say. Whether working with Mos Def as one-half of Black Star, partnering with producer Hi-Tek for Reflection Eternal, releasing landmark solo material or collaborating with Kanye West or Madlib, Kweli commands attention by delivering top-tier lyricism, crafting captivating stories and showing the ability to rhyme over virtually any type of beat.
"My music has been associated with those types of causes, with positivity, spirituality, intelligence and being thought-provoking and such," he says. "I think sometimes people get caught up in that part of me as an artist and don't necessarily understand the musicality or fully appreciate the music and the entertainment value behind what I do. I tried to stretch my wings a little bit and bring something that was less beholden to the world of hip-hop and more existing in the world in general."
The result of this artistic growth and exploration arrives with Kweli's dynamic 2013 release, Prisoner Of Conscious AKA P.O.C., an artistic tour de force that signals the start of the next chapter of Kweli's remarkable career. The BK MC spent more time working on Prisoner Of Conscious than any of his other albums, a three-year journey that found him exploring new vibes, joining in some unlikely collaborations and taking him to foreign lands.
Produced by Symbolyc One (Kanye West, Ghostface), the title track's alternatively rap and rock-based beat provides a distinctive platform for Kweli to deliver rhymes that detail his artistic awakening, while producers Sean C & LV (Jay-Z, Raekwon) created a Marvin Gaye-esque vibe for "Come," a cut featuring Miguel that showcases Kweli trying to convince a series of women to do things his way.
Talib Kweli appeatrs on Thursday & Friday, September 18-19; Two shows nightly at 8:00PM & 10:30PM / Blue Note Jazz Club, 131 W. 3rd Street (between 6th Ave and MacDougal St.)
New York City / www.bluenotejazz.com