Some Real Hip-Hop For Ya

I was actually planning to do this every week, but I fell off last week. Anyway,we're back and kickin it with the near-perfect album, Black Star, or by its full name, Mos Def and Talib Kweli are Black Star. As I mentioned before in a very tentative list of my 10 favorite hip-hop albums, this is the album that made me love hip-hop again. This album has everything right with it. There's one little piece of fast-forward material, but it in no way detracts from the whole album. The best thing about this album is that there are two real-live MCs, droppin knowledge, but not at the expense of making dope rhymes. As it tends to be, their politics are a little left of mine, but even at that, we agree more than we disagree. There are lots of great songs on here that give the listener food for thought, but the most thought-provoking is Thieves In The Night. This is literate hip-hop. Mos Def and Talib Kweli bought a book store in Brooklyn. Do Stanley Crouch and John McWhorter not know this, or do they simply disregard Black Star because Black Star doesn't lend itself to the tired, broad-brush, never-liked-it-in-the-first-place critique of hip-hop?Why can't they at least sidebar the fact that Thieves In The Night was inspired by Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye? Here's a sample of each of their verses from Thieves Talib Kweli
"Give me the fortune, keep the fame," said my man Louis I agreed, know what he mean because we live the truest lie I asked him why we follow the law of the bluest eye He looked at me, he thought about it Was like, "I'm clueless, why?" The question was rhetorical, the answer is horrible Our morals are out of place and got our lives full of sorrow And so tomorrow comin later than usual Waitin' on someone to pity us While we findin beauty in the hideous They say money's the root of all evil but I can't tell YouknowhatImean, pesos, francs, yens, cowrie shells, dollar bills Or is it the mindstate that's ill? Creating crime rates to fill the new prisons they build Over money and religion there's more blood to spill The wounds of slaves in cotton fields that never heal What's the deal? A lot of cats who buy records are straight broke But my language universal they be recitin my quotes While R&B singers hit bad notes, we rock the boat of thought, that my man Louis' statements just provoked Caught up, in conversations of our personal worth Brought up, through endangered species status on the planet Earth Survival tactics means, bustin gats to prove you hard Your firearms are too short to box with God Without faith, all of that is illusionary Raise my son, no vindication of manhood necessary
Mos Def
...I find it's distressin, there's never no in-between We either niggaz or Kings We either bitches or Queens The deadly ritual seems immersed, in the perverse Full of short attention spans, short tempers, and short skirts Long barrel automatics released in short bursts The length of black life is treated with short worth Get yours first, them other niggaz secondary That type of illin that be fillin up the cemetery This life is temporary but the soul is eternal Separate the real from the lie, let me learn you Not strong, only aggressive, cause the power ain't directed That's why, we are subjected to the will of the oppressive Not free, we only licensed Not live, we just excitin Cause the captors.. own the masters.. to what we writin Not compassionate, only polite, we well trained Our sincerity's rehearsed in stage, it's just a game Not good, but well behaved cause the ca-me-ra survey most of the things that we think, do, or say We chasin after death just to call ourselves brave But everyday, next man meet with the grave I give a damn if any fan recall my legacy I'm tryin to live life in the sight of God's memory
But there's more to it than just that. My boys would beat me about the head and shoulders if I didn't mention Respiration, which is pure poetry. All these cats talkin about Tupac, they need to check this out.