Vinyl Vlog 384

Vinyl Vlog 384

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Tuesday, 11 June 2019
COLUMN

Talib Kweli
Gravitas
(photos: turntablelab.com)

Thank God for Talib Kweli. It’s not just that the man is phenomenal at his craft, but that he’s maybe the highest profile rapper doing something with actual meaning. He cares about art and isn’t a megalomaniac. Spend some time with a Talib Kweli album and you’ll find, instead of bravado, money, and elitism, music that’s actually trying to elevate others. Kweli is a rapper for the people, in that sense. After all, this is a man who released Fuck the Money, which caught this reviewer’s attention and made him a fan ever since. Oh, and did I mention that it’s available for free? And this was no chopped liver either. Fuck the Money is as strong album in this artist’s catalog.

But we’re here to talk about Gravitas, and I’m glad to say this album is full of the thoughtful insightful content we’ve come to expect from the man. In addition to his lyrics dealing with social injustice, cultural awakening, and the status quo, Gravitas is also a much more personal album for Kweli, hence the name. It tells the story of the man, and his experience so far. Clearly, Kweli is taking a more direct approach to the means of production. As he said during the album’s release: ” When you pre order my newest project, Gravitas […] you will be buying it directly from me, no middleman, and I will now have a direct relationship with you. Who needs this industry when we have each other. The technology exists for me to have this relationship with the fans, and vice versa.” Although I think Kweli gets better with each album, spending time with Gravitas has really helped me appreciate the release. There’s more focus here and the songs have a way to grab your attention and the message drills itself into your head. It’s feels more complete. That’s quality music right there.

The vinyl for this release is so cool. On a double LP with sky-blue wax, this album is housed in a gatefold LP with gorgeous art that should truly be as big as possible. It’s the format where you get the most bang for your buck.

Talib Kweli is an essential artist for rap fans, and even though we might all have our favorites, Gravitas is just another powerful entry into the man’s strong catalog. It’s perfect for newcomers or tried and true fans of the man.

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