Talib Kweli & 9th Wonder - Indie 500 (C+)

Growing up loving Mos Def, I naturally listened to Black Star as well. Though I loved their one and only album, Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star, I never followed Talib’s solo career too closely. I listened to his first album Quality pretty heavily but sadly that’s the only album I picked up by him. It was nothing against him or his style, I think it was during a time when I consuming a lot of other genres and artists for the first time and certain artists fell by the wayside. Talib was one. But that was the past, this is now and I’m digging what Talib and producer 9th Wonder have put together. Similar to The Game’s Documentary 2.0 and 2.5 this record is filled with features and seems to be made through a collective effort. 9th Wonder sticks to what he does best and keeps production soulful and smooth while Talib and friends spit seamlessly from track to track making the experience easy and light. A consistent highlight is female rapper Rapsody who appears on three tracks and steals the spotlight on each, the best of which is “Life Ahead of Me”. A favorite of mine, Pharoahe Monch, lends his vocals to “Prego” and NIKO IS (whose album Brutus dropped earlier this year and is worth your time) stops by on multiple tracks. Overall it’s good, not great, though oddly enough became something I casually put on throughout the week when I couldn’t think of what I wanted to listen to, so maybe my subconscious is telling me something…either way, hip hop fans will want to sample but if hip hop isn’t your thing there are other things out there for you.