Talib Kweli and Madlib – Liberation


Taib Kweli has never shied away from social commentary, and his newest album, Liberation, is no exception — it’s obvious from when you first cop the disc and see an image of Talib super-imposed on the statue of liberty. Can he truly follow in Mos’ footsteps sacrificing musicality for didactic self-indulgence? Does he go Common’s route, diluting his art Gap-ad style for a couple bucks?

He does neither, instead going for straight, simple hip-hop, championed by Madlib behind the boards. Although, Kweli is often criticized for his nasal, often inaccessible flow, Madlib’s jazz and soul infused beats are a welcome compliment. Kweli spits politics on “Funny Money,” but it never sounds pretentious, the looped horns giving the track a relaxed feel. The sample on “What Can I Do?” relegates Kweli’s rapping completely to the background.

On his MySpace, Kweli says that this is the sound many of his fans were waiting for. It’s true: Madlib’s minimalist sounds provide a solid foundation for Talib to build on. Did we forget to mention? This album is an Internet only, free release. What are you waiting for?

Max Arambulo

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  1. I would hardly call Mos’ TRu3 Magic self indulgence. Music is the thoughts and sounds of the artists, it’d be self indulgence if the music catered to misguided fans for a “quick buck.”

    Selling out is defined as changing how one is for money, Common didn’t change his content, flow or style for anyone, he just cashed in on the mass media Hip Hop cash cow because he obviously couldn’t from his albums.

    And there is no need to “cop” the album, it was free for the first week of January and the real cover for the album can be found on Madlib’s or Kweli’s myspace pages.

    I’m not sure how social commentary can be considered “simple hip-hop” but many would not consider Kweli’s lyrics simple. The same goes for Madlib’s production, while they are an alternative to “club bangers” they don’t paralell the simple drum patterns found in Old School rap beats.

    Most do not consider Kweli’s flow nasal or inacessible, they are more apt to criticize his the animated undertone in combination with his NY accent which can come off as unattractive.

    Judging from the responses of Kweli’s fans, this album, had it been released for sale, would have had similar success to Reflection Eternal than any of his solo projects. It’s a shame copyrights and possible lawsuits from music samples can prevent the spread of quality tracks.

  2. absolutely adored it-lyrics are gr8, music is simple and so relaxed…album has been on repeat 2days in a row…thumbs up!!

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