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  Talib Kweli -- booking information

The ascension of Talib Kweli to the top has been a long time coming. Gaining notoriety as one-half of the group Black Star (with childhood friend Mos Def) in 1998 and then Reflection Eternal (with Cincinnati DJ Hi-Tek) in 2000, the cerebral MC, due to his insightful, well-crafted lyrics and passionate delivery, has long been considered one of the most prolific rappers in the game.

Talib Kweli -- booking information The eldest of two sons born to college professors, Talib Kweli (which means "student of truth" in Arabic) realized he had a knack for self-expression as early as elementary school. Gifted in writing poetry, short stories and plays, as Kweli entered junior high, the awkward teen, who had once harbored dreams of becoming a Major League Baseball player, ditched his plans after discovering a market for his written wares among his friends. "I wasn't really one of the cool kids," Kweli recalls. "Hip-hop became a way for me to write and be cool; it gave me a language to speak to my peers. I started writing rhymes for my friends, and then I eventually began writing rhymes for myself."

But schoolyard rap ciphers would give way to professional ambition when Talib Kweli met Dante Smith (aka Mos Def) years later in high school, and then producer Tony "DJ Hi-Tek" Cottrell, during a 1994 trip to Cincinnati. Impressed by Kweli's rhyme style, Hi-Tek, who was working with a local rap clique named Mood at the time, tapped him to appear on several tracks for the group's 1997 album, "Doom." The same year, Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek, dubbing themselves Reflection Eternal, released "Fortified Live," a now classic single on Rawkus' first "Soundbombing" compilation.

Flipping the script the following year, Talib Kweli teamed up with Mos Def to record and release "Mos Def and Talib Kweli Are Black Star." Hailed one of best albums of 1998, the pair went on to spearhead the making of "Hip-Hop for Respect" less than a year later. The four-song maxi-single featuring 41 MCs - including Kool G. Rap, De La Soul, Common and dead prez, was created to protest the murder of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed African immigrant shot 41 times by New York City cops in 1999.

After reuniting briefly with Hi-Tek in "Reflection Eternal" in 2000 to drop the refreshingly original "Train of Thought" - the brainchild of a brilliant MC and masterful musician, which yielded Billboard hits "Move Somethin'" and "The Blast", Talib Kweli finally went off on his own to release the highly-anticipated "Quality" in 2002, much to the delight of many of his long-time supporters. The album, producing such potential hip-hop classics as the feel-good hit "Get By," "Waitin' for the DJ" and "Joy," helped secured Kweli's reputation as one of the most talented MCs of our generation.

"I released 'Quality' to prove I could make an album without Mos or Hi-Tek," says Kweli. "They're highly talented people, but I needed to show my fans what I was capable of - I also needed to show myself."

Although "Quality" is a tough act to follow, his sophomore solo effort, "The Beautiful Struggle," released in 2004, certainly did not disappoint. Talib Kweli demonstrates just how well he holds his own on tracks like the Neptunes-produced "Broken Glass," "Around My Way," on which the rapper teams up with R&B newcomer John Legend, the Just-Blaze produced track "Never Been in Love," and of course the Kanye West produced "I Try" featuring the queen of hip-hop soul, Mary J. Blige.

Having collaborated with many of rap's A-list producers over the course of his career, as well as guest stars such as Common, Faith Evans, and Anthony Hamilton - Talib Kweli was excited to introduce his next release "Right About Now."  This is "The Official Sucka Free Mix" CD, which features exclusive tracks highlighting Talib's acclaimed and previously unreleased material, in collaboration with underground hip-hop stars Mos Def, Planet Asia, Phil Da Agony and Jean Grae.

Hit songs include --

  • Move Somethin'
  • The Blast
  • Get By
  • I Try
  • Waitin' For The DJ
  • Good To You

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