Though many have come to know Brooklyn rapper Talib Kweli more for his Twitter-troll savagery, the celebrated MC just released his latest project, Radio Silence — his second release of 2017. At a relatively concise 11 songs, Kweli's attention to detail and sheer lyrical ability throughout the LP are a direct reminder of why he's been such a heralded voice throughout his career.
"Hip Hop will flourish with nourishment and the proper care," he rhymes on the project's opener "The Magic Hour," produced by celebrated Mobb Deep collaborator The Alchemist. With a host of curated production credits from the likes of Montreal's Kaytranada on the Anderson .Paak-assisted "Traveling Light" and West Coast producer Oh No (Madlib's brother) on "She's My Hero," Kweli stays in a comfortable pocket for the most part. He does step a little outside of his usual flow and vibe slightly on the Waka Flocka-assisted "Chips" and the fast-rap title-track, but he doesn't stray from his content/message.
Jay Electronica, one of the genre's most elusive and great minds, makes a highlight of "All of Us," which features a barrage of brilliant bars. "The last days and times / The Holy Quran and Bible we on the last page and line / The verse with all the babies dying / Outside of the matrix, inside of the spaceship but the saviour's blind," Electronica raps on the soulful Samuel Truth beat.
Then there's the Robert Glasper-produced LP closer "Write at Home," featuring a spoken word performance by Datcha and vocals by neo-soul royalty Bilal over a piano-driven musical experience (for lack of a better description).
Kweli is a veteran in the culture; he exists among (the '90s) acts like the Roots, Yasiin Bey, A Tribe Called Quest and others who have been able to maintain a healthy level of relevance with their music. Radio Silence is a jazzy, soulful call to action, a think-piece and a middle-finger to the trolls who claim he fell off; you can still find his name "in the middle of equality." (Javotti Media)