Talib Kweli – Gravitas (Album Stream & INNER VIEW)
Talib links up with Raekwon, Black Thought, RES and more for his 6th studio album and follow-up to Prisoner of Conscious. Gravitas also features production from Statik Selektah and the late J. Dilla. Keep reading for a link to the new album as well as our conversation with the Brooklyn emcee.
RD: Your flows change from song to song and even during. How long does it typically take for you to commit lyrics to memory?
Talib Kweli: At this point the only songs I commit to memory are the ones that I know I’m going to perform. There are songs that I’ve performed so often that they remain in my memory. With my newer material I won’t really know it until I perform it a few times.
Has there been situations where you’ve been on stage and forgot your lyrics?
Many, many, many times. It’s happened to me way more before the era where everyone is able to record with their cellphones. It doesn’t happen to me as much as it used to.
Most rappers will get on stage and have their vocals play in the background.
I think that only happens with rappers that don’t know how to perform. They haven’t grown up on Hip-Hop performance. People today may think that Hip-Hop performance is standing up in a club when you at your table and rapping to your record while the DJ is playing. A lot of younger artists have not had a real concert experience.
Do you see this as an ongoing method?
Anyone who does that is only doing something that will be short-lived. It’s okay to do that every once in a while but anybody who makes that a staple of what they do will suffer from people getting tired of seeing that.
On Prisoner of Conscious you’ve embraced and featured quite a few upcoming artists. What have any of the newer artists taught you?
They taught me how to be prolific and to keep my music out there. I’ve embraced new platforms and new technologies. I’ve also embraced the idea that people who listen to music now are used to getting it for free and are expecting it for free. You have to know how to operate within those parameters.
What’s the best live show you’ve ever seen?
I would say it would have to be Prince.
Did you ever write a song and feel spiritually complete afterwards?
From Prisoner of Conscious the songs that had that effect on me spiritually were “High Life” and “It Only Gets Better.”
What can we expect from the new Gravitas album?
Musically, it is a very personal album. I’m getting at the people directly and getting rid of the middle man who tends to dictate our relationship. The technology is available now and I’m taking advantage of it.
Tell us about touring in the states vs. touring overseas.
Touring in the states allows me to be closer to my family. Those phone bills are a lot less. (Laughter.) Other than that a show is a show.
Battle Rap is growing in the overseas market. Has an emcee ever approached you wanting to battle?
I don’t think that has ever happened. People come up to me and want to kick rhymes but I haven’t really put myself out there like a battle rapper. I’m from that world but was never really focused on that.
Do you have any plans on venturing outside of music?
I have my label and I’m devoted to putting out Cory Mo’s Take It or Leave It album. I’m very excited about that. Res just dropped her Refried Mac album which is a collection of cover songs by Fleetwood Mac. I just want to fortify myself and this label with these artists.
Where can fans get the latest tour information?
You can check my official website for the latest updates.
Thanks for talking with Rapper’s Delite.