Sunday, February 5, 2012

Blackstar: "Speech is my hammer, bang the world into shape"... They make "Watch the Throne" look like "Tha Carter IV".

Nothing is better than a lyric that makes you think. Some lyricists create songs that I appreciate, even some that have great lyrical quality, but fail to get me thinking.

Blackstar. I have listening to them for years and I hope the rest of you have ever been privileged to hear them spit. The rhymes they come up with have made me see all of New York City in a different way. This group is comprised of Mos Def and Talib Kweli. These two emcees have proved their abilities but have been hidden by radio rap and overlooked by the public. They are actually worth listening to.

Listen to every track off their album, "Blackstar", you will enjoy it. I know the phrase "this is real hip-hop" has been thrown around a lot, so I will not even say that. Every bar they utter keeps me in deep thought for about five minutes; for example, "It's a paradox we call reality, so keepin it real will make you casualty of abnormal normality". 

Also from their song "Thieves in the Night", is something that changed my perception of Hip-Hop:
"And fantasy is twas, for we were not strong, only aggressive; we were not free, merely licensed; we were not compassionate, we were polite, not good but well-behaved. We courted death in order to call ourselves brave, and hid like thieves from life". After beginning our study of braggadocio in rap, this verse is surprising. Compare this to "I'm Me" by Lil Wayne. Wayne's song contains many themes consistent with a lot of hip-hop music today: self-promotion, arrogance, ego...but d most people think like this? Mos Def and Kweli have captured the common man's mind. They almost ridicule themselves for being blinded by the illusions of the hip-hop industry for so long. This is almost refreshing to hear. Instead of listing the enormous amount of things they have bought with their money, they stay humble and self-reflect. Most people would never write and release songs that point out their faults. These two are not afraid to. That is something to admire.  


  1. Blackstar is definitely one of the most lyrical collaborations in hip hop.

    In my opinion, what really separates them from the rest of rap is their flow. They have a way of rapping over a beat that seems more smooth than anyone else out there. They also are both very intelligent and articulate as you can see by the following lines:

    Brooklyn, New York City, where they paint murals of Biggie
    In cash we trust cause it's ghetto fabulous, life look pretty

    The lines all flow together in a way that many rappers seem to miss today. For example, most rappers might say that they "got that sticky weed" Yet Talib Kweli says:

    What a pity - blunts is still fifty cents, it's intense
    Tree scents is dominant can't be covered with incense

  2. Respect: "People thinking 'MC' is shorthand for 'misconception'"


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