Digital Media Concepts/Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star

Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star is the first and only studio album created by the hip-hop duo. Both the album and group are often referred to as simply, Black Star. The duo consists of rappers Mos Def (Dante Terrell Smith) and Talib Kweli (Talib Kweli Greene). The album was released on September 29, 1998 under Rawkus Records.[1] The songs on the album were recorded from September 1997 till May 1998 primarily in Brooklyn, New York. The album focuses on themes of life Brooklyn, modern-day issues they face, and the philosophical ideas they believe in.

Background edit

The title of the album came from the Black Star Line, a shipping line founded by Marcus Garvey. The album was created due to the true chemistry between Mos Def and Talib Kweli. Both had been planning on releasing their solo albums at the same time, but postponed them to work on Black Star.[2] The passion and chemistry of the duo can be heard through the music, which is something not all artists can accomplish easily. The artists met through their producer, Hi-Tek, who produced a majority of the album.

Biography edit

Mos Def edit

Dante Terrell Smith, better known as Mos Def, was born on December 11, 1973 in Brooklyn, New York.[3] Mos Def's musical career began in 1994 under the name Urban Thermo Dynamics (UTD), which was a group consisting of Dante and his siblings. Dante was the oldest of 12 siblings, and was raised by his mother in Brooklyn since his father lived in New Jersey. He was introduced Islam at the age of 13, which influenced the direction he took in approaching hip hop. He became close friends with fellow muslim mc's Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest.

In 1998 he joined forces with Talib Kweli for the first time and created "Black Star". After the release of the album, Mos Def was signed to Kweli's Rawkus Records. In October of 1999, Mos Def released his debut solo album "Black on Both Sides" and continued to release albums under Rawkus Records till 2006. His second album "The New Danger" charted at #5 on the Billboard 200 and received a grammy nomination for the song "Sex, Love & Money".[4]

Starting in 2007, Mos Def's relationship with Kanye West was getting stronger. The two worked together on songs "Two Words" and "Drunk and Hot Girls", which were featured on West's album. Mos Def continued to perform with G.O.O.D. Music and continued traveling the world working with different musicians. It wasn't until the 2010 release of "Lord, Lord, Lord" where it was confirmed that Mos Def had signed with G.O.O.D. Music. In the following year, Mos Def chose to change his name to what it is currently, Yasiin Bey.

Talib Kweli edit

Talib Kweli Greene was born on October 3rd, 1975 in Brooklyn, New York.[5] His early life growing up was spent mostly in Park Slope, living with his mother, father, and younger brother. As he grew older, he was drawn to artists like De La Soul and the Native Tongues Posse, which influenced his afrocentric style of music later in his life. Talib Kweli made his musical debut in 1997, with five features on the album "Doom" by the Cincinnati rap duo Mood. In the following year, Kweli would meet producer Hi-Tek and connect with Mos Def to record the album "Black Star". After the mainstream success and critical acclaim of the album, the duo would create another album titled, "Hip Hop for Respect". This album focused on combatting police brutality and the case of Amadou Diallo.

All of the albums Kweli had created so far had been under his record label, Rawkus Records, but it wouldn't be until 2002 for him to release his solo project. The project was titled "Quality" and featured the talents of artists like Kanye West, DJ Quik, and even an appearance by Dave Chappelle. In the summer of 2004, Kweli released his second solo album, which would be the last under Rawkus Records. Started in 2005, Blacksmith Records was Talib Kweli's next venture. Under this record label, Kweli released several mixtapes and one album, which was executive produced by Madlib.

Track List edit

Song Title Performer(s) Producer(s) Length
1 Intro Talib Kweli, Mos Def Hi-Tek; Talib Kweli 1:11
2 Astronomy (8th Light) Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Weldon Irvine Da Beatminerz 3:23
3 Definition Mos Def, Talib Kweli Hi-Tek 3:26
4 ReːDefinition Mos Def, Talib Kweli Hi-Tek 3:03
5 Children's Story Mos Def Shawn J. Period 3:32
6 Brown Skin Lady Talib Kweli, Mos Def J. Rawls 5:46
7 B Boys Will B Boys Mos Def, Talib Kweli Ge-ology 2:36
8 K.O.S. (Determination) Talib Kweli, Vinia Mojica Hi-Tek 4:49
9 Hater Players Talib Kweli, Mos Def Shawn J. Period 4:08
10 Yo Yeah Mos Def, Talib Kweli J. Rawls; Talib Kweli 1ː10
11 Respiration Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Common Hi-Tek 6:05
12 Thieves In The Night Talib Kweli, Mos Def 88-Keys 5:16
13 Twice Inna Lifetime Jane Doe, Wordsworth, Talib Kweli, Punchline, Mos Def Hi-Tek 5:38

Samples edit

  • Intro contains a sample of Cannonball Adderley speaking
  • Definition contains a sample from "The P Is Free" by Boogie Down Productions
  • Definition contains a chorus in "Stop The Violence" by Boogie Down Productions
  • Children's Story contains a sample of "Children's Story" by Slick Rick
  • Brown Skin Lady begins with a sample from the film Chameleon Street
  • Brown Skin Lady contains a sample from "We Almost Lost Detroit" by Gil-Scott Heron and Brian Jackson
  • K.O.S. (Determination) contains a sample from "Baby, This Love I Have" by Minnie Riperton
  • Respiration contains a sample from "The Fox" by Don Randi
  • Respiration contains a sample from the film Style Wars
  • Yo Yeah uses a sample from the track "Downlo Ho" by Scientifik[6]

References edit

  1. "Black Star - Black Star, Mos Def, Talib Kweli | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2019-03-05.
  2. "Mos Def and Talib Kweli Are Black Star". Retrieved 2019-03-05.
  3. "Mos Def | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 2019-03-05.
  4. Henry Adaso; Mtv; Rehab Rap; et al. "The 50 Greatest Rappers of All Time". ThoughtCo. Retrieved 2019-03-05.
  5. "Talib Kweli Biography". Retrieved 2019-03-05.
  6. "Black Star - Samples, Covers and Remixes". WhoSampled. Retrieved 2019-03-05.