Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Talib Kweli & Hi Tek (Reflection Eternal)
Train Of Thought

Released 2000 on Rawkus
Reviewed by Le Samourai, 01/03/2001ce

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Did I ever tell you that people STILL ask me “why do you listen to Hip Hop and/or Rap music?” more than any other musical genre that I listen to (and we’re talking all types of Jazz, Rock, R & B/Soul, World Beat, Folk, and Dance Club music here.) It’s strange. People keep seriously asking me why is Hip Hop so negative, self-destructive and obsessed with wealth? (as if life itself wasn’t filled enough with that and they forgot that music is a reflection of society.) “Aren’t they’re ANY positive artists in those genres?” they scream at me. And I STILL have to laugh because people have been sold such a wack bill of goods on Hip Hop and/or Rap music thanks to greedy record companies looking for fake-ass (Caucasian?) rebels and narrow minded “Yes Men/Women” radio stations (and a certain a video channel and its worldwide branch offices) playing what they get paid for (Payola is NOT dead ladies and gentlemen and has even gotten into video too. Anybody read that “Marketing To Teenagers” post in the “U-Know” messageboard section? If not, DO IT NOW!)

So I point them in the direction of this classic disc from the
year 2K. M.C. Talib Kweli must own a scale to weigh his rhymes because he never takes his words lightly. Here we have a complex yet groove heavy picture of an artist as African American. Talib’s social conciousness rhymes remind me a lot of Gil Scott-Heron’s (who even makes a guest appearance on this record!) And Talib holds his own rhymes skills very well especially on lines like “these cats drink champagne and toast death and pain like
slaves on a ship talking bout who got the flyest chain” on jams like “Africa Dreams.” But the rest of the albums hits just as hard lyrically.

Okay but what about the beats? D.J. Hi-Tek is definitely an up and coming beat mastermind. No joke! Tek weaves music and moods like a classic film score composer, like your favorite musician or even author. If that’s not positive enough, they even get Nelson Mandela to speak on this album. Nelson Mandela! Can you believe that? Positive Hip Hop & Rap artists exist and you should really try to search for them. They deserve your attention and
money as much as any artist you read about in Unsung. And if you’re looking for more positive Hip Hop acts please pick up any albums by The Roots, Common (also known as Common Sense), Dilated Peoples, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Mos Def (Talib’s rhyme partner in Black Star), Queen Latifah, Public Enemy, KRS-ONE (and his group Boogie Down Productions), Outkast,
Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth, Freestyle Fellowship, and Aceyalone for further proof.

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