On August 26th, 1998, Mos Def and Talib Kweli came together as Black Star and released one of the most significant albums in hip-hop’s history.
Six years later, as a seventh-grader hearing the album for the first time on a bootleg CD played through my bedroom DVD player, it changed my life.
Prior to hearing Mos and Kweli, my rap tastes consisted of whatever I heard on the radio or saw on BET or MuchMusic: basically, G-Unit, Ludacris, Nelly, Ja Rule, and Lil Jon. (Here’s a fun activity: look at the Billboard charts from 2001-03 for a reminder of the musical climate.) Suddenly, I was opened to a world of groovy basslines, gritty drums, and quick-witted lyrical mastery. Not only that, but there was substance. I never turned back.
I may have caught on late, but I share a similar story with many emcees and producers in hip-hop today. Ask just about anyone, and they’ll list Black Star amongst their favourites.
“That was the album that changed all of my lyrical content,” says Junia-T.
“When you’re a young artist, and you’re just rapping, following what you hear, you don’t really understand the reality of the environments these people are describing, you know what I mean? Until you hear an album like Black Star, it really made me realize that yeah, I can rap about my regular life and still have something to say.”
“The mid-nineties was when I got into deejaying, and this was kind of at the same time that Rawkus was really big,” Freddie Joachim says. “This was when Mos Def and Kweli, Common, and The Roots were really blowing up. That’s the type of music that I gravitated towards.”
“I heard that in a time when I had already kinda been on Nas, and Common, and Jay – all the staples – but that came at a point where I was kind of searching for something new, because I had played those albums to death,” says Omen.
“It was just so refreshing to hear; it was just unique; Mos had his own style, Talib had his own style, and I was at a time in my life where I was searching for truth, and tryin to figure out the world, and I felt like they had the answers – even if they didn’t, it felt like that.”
Allow us to take a walk down memory lane and revisit the album, track-by-track. Read it all after the jump.
Celebrating the release of his newest studio album, Beauty Behind The Madness, award-winning singer, The Weeknd will embark on a multi-city fall tour starting in his hometown Toronto on November 3rd. The tour will end in Miami on December 19th. Tickets will be available to purchase on Friday August 28th, the day of the album’s release at 10:00 am EST.
What: The Weeknd: The Madness Fall Tour
Where: Air Canada Centre, Toronto
When: November 3rd, 2015
Admission: $56.25 – $144.25 via Ticketmaster
11/03 Toronto, ON – Air Canada Centre
11/06 Chicago, IL – United Center
11/07 Detroit, MI – Palace of Auburn Hills
11/11 Newark, NJ – Prudential Center
11/12 Boston, MA – DCU Center
11/14 Uncasville, CT – Mohegan Sun
11/15 Washington, DC – Verizon Center
11/16 New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
11/18 Brooklyn, NY – Barclays Center
11/24 Montreal, QC – Bell Centre
11/27 Winnipeg, MB – MTS Centre
11/29 Calgary, AB – Scotiabank Saddledome
11/30 Edmonton, AB – Rexall Place
12/02 Vancouver, BC – Pepsi Live at Rogers Arena
12/05 Oakland, CA – Oracle Arena
12/08 Los Angeles, CA – The Forum
12/13 Houston, TX – Toyota Center
12/15 Atlanta, GA – Philips Arena
12/17 Tampa, FL – Amalie Arena
12/19 Miami, FL – AmericanAirlines Arena
Since rap has basically reached pop status, is it acceptable for a rapper in 2015 to have co-writers, ghostwriters, and writing teams just like pop artists? It’s basically accepted in every genre, but rap seems to be different in that way.
There are two sides to the debate:
One side: What matters is what the final product is, and what’s coming out of the speakers. It doesn’t matter who did what, as long as the end result is dope.
The other side: We expect rappers to be authentic, to keep it real, to have skills and showcase them. What’s an emcee without their rhymes?
What do you think? We put it to our writers to discuss. Read the roundtable after the jump.
I can’t believe the news that Sean Price has passed away this morning, he was only 43 years old. According to reports from his family and friends, he died this morning in his sleep at his home in Brooklyn, NY. We don’t know cause of death at this time. I had the pleasure to interview in 2011 and again in 2013 for TCUS 6 Year Anniversary. He was an amazing personality, emcee and his contributions of our culture with Heltah Skeltah and Boot Camp Clik will forever be remembered. I’d like to send my sincerest condolences to Duck Down and his family. I’d like you to comment on this post and tell me what Sean Price music meant to you.
REST IN PEACE SEAN PRICE!
It’s officially August, meaning that the end of summer is almost here. With such little time left, it’s time to make the best of the summer with events to fill your week. This month, plenty of talented artists will be performing across the GTA and Hamilton. Here’s our list of August’s Events You Don’t Want To Miss.