View Full Version : NEW Talib Kweli Interview. speaks on Reflectoin Eternal 2

food for thought
02-12-2009, 09:34 PM
Brooklyn, New York is known for producing some of the most legendary emcees hip hop has had to offer. Among the names are Big Daddy Kane, The Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z, and Talib Kweli. For me, Talib Kweli has been a favorite of mine since I heard him on the Reflection Eternal album with DJ Hi-Tek back in 2000. Since then, Talib has done little to disappoint, releasing amazing albums such as 2007’s Ear Drum, his solo debut Quality, his collaboration with Madlib, Liberation, and the now classic Black Star album with Mos Def.

Imagine my surprise when my man J Master, from SRC Records, hit me up and said Talib was down to do an interview on the site. This to me, was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I got the whole This Is Hip Hop gang together and we banged out a ton a questions. This interview is a collaborative effort between myself, Deez, Thomas, and J Master. We hit up Talib on everything from the new Idle Warship project and new Reflection Eternal album, to Jean Grae’s return from retirement and Talib’s take on hip hop. Here’s how it went down…

TIHH: What’s good Talib? The time is much appreciated. Wanted to get right into things and see what you have going on this year; It has been rumored that you may be dropping three albums this year: Prisoner of Consciousness, a second Reflection Eternal album, and Party Robot with R&B singer Res as the group Idle Warship? Can you talk briefly about each rumored project?

talib-hitekTK: Everything is good. The Reflection Eternal project is a go, I’ve been spending a lot of time in the Nati at Hi Tek’s studio. We are trying to have that out before the summer on Blacksmith Warner Brothers. Hi Tek got some heat, he still my favorite producer. The Idle Warship album is an organic process. We are putting the finishing touches on Party Robot and we will be releasing music with an independent spirit. Look out for Idle Warship, which is me Res and Graph Nobel from Toronto, and Reflection Eternal at the Blacksmith Showcase, Thursday March 19th at the Scoot Inn, during South By Southwest in Austin. That is the goal of Idle Warship. No Prisoner, but maybe Liberation 2.

TIHH: What has the response to the Idle Warship project been? When did this idea come about and when was it put into full “go mode”?

Talib & ResTK: I was cleaning the crib one day and I go thru CDs that are given to me when I do this. I have stacks of them. I played one by someone named Zeferiah. The tracks were great, but I didn’t see how they fit my brand. Res, who has been on all of my albums, was on the phone with me alot talking about trying to release music online. We decided to do the song Steady over one of Zeferiahs tracks, and called the music Idle Warship. We knew it was different from what ours fans come to expect and that’s what got us excited about it. Graph Nobel is a good friend and great talent. She jumped on Black Snake Moan, and tore down a New Years Eve show with us at the Roosevelt Hotel last year. We put her in the group the next day.

TIHH: There have been talk/rumors that you would like to work with/sign Rakim and Camp Lo. What’s your relationship with those artists? If a label situation does not work out do you plan on working them on any future projects?

TK: Those are old rumors. Rakim was someone Corey and I were interested in early in our venture, but he had a lot going on at the time. Corey has worked with Camp Lo before, and they have been down with Blacksmith since back when Corey managed De La Soul, but there is no official plans to release stuff with them. I be seeing Chiba out a lot recently though, we need to get up do a joint.

TIHH: By now, this should be old news, but, is Jean Grae actually retiring?

Talib & Jean GraeTK: I never bought that Jean was really retiring. She loves it too much. I dont know what to think about that. What I do know is that the way females are represented in hip hop is really shitty. Jean is one of my favorite MCs hands down. She is a pure artist. Sometimes they can be misunderstood, and it becomes frustrating. But Jean got some fire brewing, and we are gearing up for the release of Prom Night as well. If they liked Jeanius, they’ll love this.

TIHH: Can you talk about what is in store for your Blacksmith label in 2009? What new projects are coming out this year from Jean Grae, Strong Arm Steady, and Anjulie?

Gang MentalityTK: Strong Arm just put out the Gang Mentality mixtape with Clinton Sparks, hosted by me and Affion Crockett. Plus we got the video poppin for Black History. Next up is the single “Trunk Music”. Jean’s Prom Night is on the way, Reflection Eternal as well. We have a website that has all type of info, not just Blacksmith info, that you should check called www.yearoftheblacksmith.com. I add new stuff up daily. We rock with Kevin Nottingham there too.

TIHH: That’s what’s up! Throughout your career, you’ve done plenty of guest spots. How much do you value a guest spot in comparison to a verse on your own track? The guest spot seems like a chance to outdo the other artist on his own track. Do you approach it that way?

TK: The guest spot can be a favor, an excerise, competition, or even sometimes just business. Whatever it is, the approach should be the same. You want to find a verse that marries the track. The verse gotta get down on one knee. Naturally, you go harder when you compete, but with music, competition is not always a good thing. Some artists are more comfortable on a guest spot then they are on their own album. Some people are just good clutch hitters, others hit home runs, and some just get on base.

TIHH: When you make your music, do you go in making music for yourself, your fans, your label, the critics, etc?

talib2TK: Last time I said this online people got mad, but I make the music for myself, period. All my favorites did the same thing. You become as honest as you can with the music you make, you make it because it satisfies your soul. If you make it for the fans or critics you are missing the point, in my humble opinion. A true fan wants to hear your honest expression, not what you think they want to hear. Once the music is made, then you share it with the fans. Then it becomes theirs to critique. After they buy it of course. Kidding, y’all dont buy music. Kidding again!

TIHH: [laughs] A lot of hip hop from live shows, to whats popular, to what gets played has historically revolved around the DJ. As of late though it seems as if the DJ has been relegated to the background more and more especially in mainstream hip hop. I was wondering if you could touch on what you see your role in music being as an emcee who also DJ’s and why you think the role of the DJ seems to be one that is dying out some in hip hop?

TK: I started to DJ at parties because that’s what I do at parties. But I’m not qualified to say I’m a DJ yet, because I respect the craft. If you see me DJing somewhere besides my In the Mood parties in NY, I’m there because celebrity factor. Sometimes they want me to make appearances, so I say, instead of sitting me at some goofy table with bottles I probably won’t finish, let me DJ. Even when we go out on tour as Reflection Eternal with a band, we will always have a DJ.

TIHH: What goes into crafting a live show? How much time do you think about what songs to play, set order, where you are, etc?

talib-liveTK: The live show is the most important part of hip hop. I rehearse a set, master it, change it, then repeat. I think a live show depends on the energy you have in yourself. If you make sure you feel good before the show, the show will feel good.

TIHH: Who would you consider your early musical influences?

TK: Early musical influence was stuff my pops played in the crib, Bob Marley, Coltrane, Nina Simone, War, even the Rolling Stones. As far as hip hop… Doug E Fresh, Slick Rick, Public Enemy and Rakim.

TIHH: Do you remember what the first record you bought was?

TK: I don’t remember the first record I bought but the first hip hop record was Public Enemy It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back.

TIHH: Have you found your tastes in rap change from when you were a kid to now? Are there some artists you used to listen to but as you have grown you don’t enjoy anymore?

TK: There is hip hop from my past that’s dated, of course. But I’m into the classics. Main Source’s Breakin Atoms sounds as fresh to me now as it did when I first got it.

Bob MarleyTIHH: Outside of hip hop, what do you listen to?

TK: I listen to good music period.

TIHH: If you could work with any artist from any era, genre, time, etc. dead or alive on one project, who would you want to work with?

TK: Bob Marley, easy question.

TIHH: It seems like a lot of fans of Indy or underground hip hop also refuse to look out of their own scenes and automatically dismiss much of, if not all mainstream rap, the flip of this being a lack of recognition from the mainstream of anything outside of what is hot or big at a given moment. You have consistently been able to bridge some of this gap during your career; has this ever been a focus or has it happened organically?

TK: I come from the era where thoughtful hip hop was our mainstream. I watched Funkmaster Flex play De La Soul in the tunnel. To me, it was never one or the other. I grew up wanting to be a famous rapper, but not famous for following a trend but for being original. I also try to approach things how they are, not how I want them to be.

TIHH: What do you think of rappers releasing songs daily (a la Freeway) or mixtapes once a month (Sha Stimiluli)? Last month we followed Freeway during his Month of Madness series and Freeway stated he was “giving music back to the fans” and taking “control” of his career. What are your thoughts? Do you think this hurts or helps the said artist?

TK: It depends on the artist and the material. It worked for Wayne because the actual material released was strong enough to get you to keep coming back. I think it worked for Freeway too. He got more press from thinking that up on his own then any publicity budget could have gotten him.

talib-junglebrosTIHH: Any update on a new Black Star album?

TK: No date for Black Star.

TIHH: Desert Island Hip Hop… what one hip hop album would you have with you and why?

TK: Done By the Forces of Nature, JBeez

TIHH: There you have it. Thanks so much for your time Talib, looking forward to what you got cookin’ this year and we wish you continued success!

02-12-2009, 11:34 PM
reflection eternal is back 2gether hmmmm.... they better not fuck this up i dont wanna sound like a hater but truthfully both of them lost a step.... if kweli goes back to smooth rhymin and hi tek goes back to boom bap without all tha bullshit on tha side it will b solid

02-13-2009, 01:37 AM
goddammit i want black star.