Published Oct 22, 2014Prolific and powerful in their own right, Talib Kweli, Pharoahe Monch and 9th Wonder have announced they've linked up as a new collective called Indie 500.
A hashtag of "#Indie500" had surfaced on the Twitter accounts of all three hip-hop figures over the last few months, but the team-up was officially announced today (October 22). All sides confirmed to Okayplayer that they've joined forces together, tying together the talent and rosters of Kweli's Jamla Records, Monch's W.A.R. Media and 9th Wonder's Javotti Media into a much larger force independent from the major label system.
"We looked at each other and we were like, we should do business together and music together," Monch said. "Not just on the rap side, but on the touring side, the business side and sharing of information. It's empowering, it's beautiful, and it's important for that to be known. To inspire younger generations to not only rap, but to start companies and corporations."
Kweli added, "It's important for us, as artists, that we value the art, and we raise the value of art. So we state that we're independent, that we're black owned, we're stating that we have value and you need to pay attention to us."
Though no new Indie 500-backed music has surfaced just yet, 9th Wonder noted that they expect to have the same close-knit bond as beloved hip-hop collectives of yore like Native Tongues. He added, "We're trying to continue on the tradition of classic — what they like to call 'traditional' — hip-hop. Grass roots, deep-rooted hip-hop music."
You'll find an interview with all three rappers further explaining their burgeoning Indie 500 empire down below.