Talib Kweli Quality

Talib Kweli Quality
With Mos Def's burgeoning acting career and Hi-Tek cashing cheques from everybody from Blackalicious to Snoop Dogg, Talib Kweli's key collaborators have been pretty busy to work on follow-ups to their Mos Def and Talib Kweli are Black Star and Train of Thought records. As those two records are among the finest hip-hop releases in recent years, expectations for Kweli's work are pretty high, but apparently there is no need for alarm, as Quality lives up to its name. With a reputation as a “conscious rapper” ensconced in the heads of many listeners, Kweli broadens his scope and provides a more balanced and mature insight into what he's all about. But Kweli wants to have a good time too and the party vibe of “Waiting For The DJ,” with Bilal, is a testament to this. While straight-up mic skills are in effect with Black Thought of the Roots and Pharoahe Monch over the sombre violin strains of “Guerilla Monsoon Rap,” love and passion are the motivating forces behind this album and Kweli's intellect, poignancy and societal insight shine through his highly quotable lyrics, as always. While he vividly celebrates the scenarios of the birth of his children on “Joy,” his concern for their future resonates often on tracks like “The Proud,” where Kweli takes President Bush to task and questions knee-jerk patriotism. It's evident Kweli believes there's a choice between being passive or active in the face of social inequality, as the eloquent “Stand to The Side” illustrates. But Kweli never comes off as if he's better than anyone and the rousing, almost spiritual “Get By” is a hip-hop everyman’s theme. With deeply soulful production from the likes of Jay Dee, the Soulquarians and Kanye West, Quality doesn't miss a beat, ensuring Kweli has covered all the bases. (Rawkus)