WNYC's Soundcheck presented Brooklyn-based rapper Talib Kweli live in The Greene Space on April 24. Kweli previewed new music from his fifth album, Prisoner of Conscious, coming out this May.
Host John Schaefer asked Kweli about the album's title and the term "conscious hip hop." The title, Kweli said, doesn't refer to his own sense of confinement, but to people's perception of him as an artist.
"When I first started, you just did hip hop," Kweli said. "It wasn't like, okay De La Soul, that's conscious rap and N.W.A is gangster rap. It was like, this is just hip hop. ...People who are very passionate about music like to break music down into sub genres."
On his new album, he challenged himself to go more upbeat and focus on the musicality. "I can't lose focus of my job as an entertainer by making my stuff overtly conscious," Kweli said. "It has to sound good and feel good first."
Brooklyn-based rapper Talib Kweli performs in WNYC's Greene Space.
See the Brooklyn-based rapper perform in advance of the release of his new album, Prisoner of Conscious. He'll talk with Soundcheck host John Schaefer about the territory between the personal and the political — and his myriad projects. Watch on-demand video here.
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From Talib Kweli's album Ear Drum (Warner Bros / Wea).
In the mid ‘90s, Talib Kweli started the duo Black Star with another young New York rapper, Mos Def -- and he's been a strong voice in underground hip-hop ever since. Kweli weighs in on the controversies coursing through the scene.