Prisoner of Conscious
Some 15 years after helping to lead the Rawkus charge, quickly establishing himself as an underground hero of consciousness in the process, Talib Kweli has finally taken a solid shot at the "pay me" record he's hinted at here and there throughout his surprisingly consistent career. Saying as much just a couple tracks into Prisoner of Conscious with the "Paid In Full"-sampling "Turnt Up," Kweli lays out a record that, while clearly designed for maximum appeal, with guests like Miguel, Melanie Fiona, Kendrick Lamar, Busta Rhymes and Nelly, manages to feel entirely natural, for the most part. The incessant wordsmith plays battle-ready pit-bull ("Hold On)," romancer ("Come Here"), social commenter ("Hamster Wheel") and embattled spouse ("Delicate Flower") with equal dexterity throughout, all while avoiding any awkward Molly references or other currently trending lyrical crutches. With a quality collection of sturdy, theme-setting beats keeping things loose through most of the session, Kweli keeps compromise at bay and finds success in freshening things up a bit.
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