Thursday, November 23, 2006

Talib Kweli @ House of Blues Sunset, Sunday November 26

When Jay-Z big-upped Brooklyn’s perennial indie-rap hero Talib Kweli on “Moment of Clarity” (“If skills sold/truth be told/I’d probably be/lyrically/Talib Kweli”), it was a watershed moment. The king of bling and braggadocio acknowledging the people’s champion with such a bold proclamation was like a sledgehammer to the Berlin Wall between the underground and commercial sides of the hip-hop nation. Kweli’s been bashing away at it ever since. He’s adopted Jigga’s business acumen, establishing the Blacksmith Music label, snatching up fire-spitting rapstress Jean Grae. In the downtime until his upcoming album, Ear Drum, drops, Kweli’s MySpace page is burning with bomb tracks like “Funny Money,” alongside Madlib from their anticipated Liberation collaboration, and “Country Cousins,” which finds T.K. trading verses with Southern dons Bun B and Pimp C. Yo, Nas: Hip-hop is so not dead. Black Moon’s Buckshot opens.

(Originally published in the LA Weekly, 11/06)