Vinyl Vlog 362

Vinyl Vlog 362

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Wednesday, 12 December 2018
COLUMN

Talib Kweli
Radio Silence

In a way, Talib Kweli will never get his due, and that’s just fine. By that, I mean that he should be ten times more popular than he is right now. He’s got everything you’d want in good music: talent, execution, wit, intellect, and a message. But unfortunately, that’s not synonymous with mainstream rap. Nope. Mainstream rap is all about image, excess, money, and fame. Like MF Doom said, the reason he wears a mask is to subvert the image of the artist and make it about the content. MF Doom is someone you should listen to. There’s a study floating around on the internet that looks into rappers’ vocabulary. Look for it — it’s quite informative.  One thing you notice on it, besides the fact that Aesop Rock is way off the charts, is that some of the more popular rappers rank low on the list. Like Jay-Z, who is one of the most visible artists in the world. But then again, Jay-Z isn’t interested in the content of his music, just whether it turns a profit. As he himself said about the lack of content in his music:

I dumbed down for my audience to double my dollars

They criticized me for it, yet they all yell “holla”

If skills sold, truth be told, I’d probably be

Lyrically Talib Kweli

Truthfully I wanna rhyme like Common Sense

But I did 5 mil – I ain’t been rhyming like Common since

So there you have it. Jaz-Z thinks you’re an idiot and wants your money. And that’s why you should ignore him.

Radio Silence is the perfect example of what a good (rap)album should be. It’s fun, innovative, smart, and catchy as hell. There are a variety of themes explored here by Kweli, like racial equality, love, relationships, social justice and the meaning of self. Things that are actually important to the average human being. You know Kweli is more interested in his music resonating with his audience and expressing himself that just making a buck. After all, this is a man who released an album called Fuck the Money for free. And I dare anyone not to get completely lost in the cool beats of Traveling Light or Head Up Eyes Open. You don’t even need to be a fan of rap music to recognize these are some killer tracks.

So, Talib Kweli will never be the biggest artist in the world, and why would he want to be? The best things in life are never the most popular. He’s still the warrior fighting the good fight, and Radio Silence is a testament to that. And it sounds oh so sweet on vinyl. 

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