Posts tagged ‘Talib Kweli’

August 7, 2012

Talib Kweli feat. CurrenSy and Kendrick Lamar – Push Thru

Talib Kweli enlists the help of Curren$y and Kendrick Lamar for Push Thru, check out the visuals below.

Read my interview with Talib Kweli here

July 2, 2012


The stars and power couples were out in full force at the BET Awards 2012. As I hit the red carpet on a hot day in L.A, I found myself next to hip-hop websites World Star Hip Hop, This is 50 and others. Opening the show dressed in an all-white suit, Kanye West came on stage with some of his G.O.O.D Music crew including, 2 Chainz and Pusha T…

Big Sean also joined Kanye on stage for their track ‘Mercy’ which saw Kim Kardashian give a standing ovation, dressed in a white dress to match her rapper boyfriend.

Host Samuel L Jackson gave us laughs throughout the night doing skits with various people – Spike Lee also joined him to do a reenactment of ‘N***as In Paris’, making everyone laugh. Most of the celebrities I spoke to on the red carpet were excited to see Samuel L Jackson host the awards; whoever hosts next year will have a lot of live up to.

Nicki Minaj’s performance was pretty toned down as she came on stage dressed in a nice black outfit, which was not flamboyant as I would have expected. Nicki performed ‘Beez In The Trap.’

D’Angelo later came on stage performing ‘How Does It Feel’, moving on to play the piano for the next track. He was looking very much like a rockstar and was rocking out on stage like one too.

Mike Epps and Mindless Behaviour gave out the award for Best Female R&B Artist which saw Mike Epps teasing the young boyband about their age before Beyoncé was announced the winner. The stunning mama dedicated it to Whitney Houston, who she described as ‘my angel’ whilst also shouting out Lauryn Hill and Mary J Blige.

Kevin Hart introduced the mighty Maybach Music onto the stage before popping a few jokes about Jay-Z and Talib Kweli. Wale was first out as he hopped out of a car on stage and was joined by Rick Ross for ‘Bag Of Money’. Meek Mill and French Montana also joined them as they tore down the stage.

Nicki Minaj aimed to shock as Busta Rhymes presented her with her award for Best Female Hip-Hop artist – she thanks her Barbz and the BET Awards before telling haters (presumably) to “suck a d*** b****!”

Chris Brown’s performance was a very highly anticipated one for the night; given the release of his recent diss track. He came on the stage to perform ‘Don’t Wake Me Up’ and ‘Turn Up The Music’ topless with half of his body painted in silver. The stage set-up also came complete with ballerinas dancing in masks!

Tyrese and Ginuwine came backstage, discussing ‘real R&B music’ and chatting about how ‘it’s not house or techno’; they added that this is why ‘they are bringing it back’. Spectators saw this as a dig at Breezy, who picked up the Best Male R&B artist award.

Mariah Carey came out to open the Whitney Houston tribute and said ‘the last time I saw her we were in London. I miss my friend, I miss hearing her voice, and laughter,’ at which point she started to cry. The star managed to compose herself to finish her speech. We also saw Brandy sing ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody.

YMCMB’s Tyga came out to perform ‘Rack City’ and Nicki Minaj was standing up dancing to her friend’s track to show her support.

Whilst Chris was at the show with YMCMB members Nicki and Tyga, Drake was absent. A source told Hollywood Life: “Everytime MC Lyte mentions that p***y Drake’s name, this whole f**king place is filled with boos. The boos came from people backstage, including Chris’s entourage and also from lots of people in the audience.”

We also saw the cutest couple in the world Jay-Z and Beyoncé play fighting, much to the amusement of the audience, when Jay won the award for Best Video Of The Year with ‘Otis’ – an award that the Queen B was also nominated for.

Big winners of the night were Jay-Z and Kanye who, of course, won Best Video and Best Group. Nicki Minaj won Best Female Hip Hop Artist whilst her buddy Drake won Best Male Hip-Hop Artist. Beyoncé won two awards, one for directing a video and one for Best Female R&B Artist. Wretch 32 repped for the UK, winning the Best International Act award for us.

June 3, 2012

Estelle – All of Me: The Reminder

Estelle has gone all out for her new mixtape which has 37 songs and features from John Legend, Talib Kweli, David Guetta, Cee-Lo Green, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, Mavado, Gym Class Heroes and more.

Estelle – All of Me: The Reminder (Tracklisting):

1. Cupid
2. The Don (Freestyle)
3. Guilty as Charged (with Gym Class Heroes)
4. Circulate (Freestyle)
5. Change is Coming
6. True Keys Ninja (with Raekwon)
7. Dance Bitch
8. London Town
9. Funky Dineva (Speaks 1)
10. Rollacoasta (with Robin Thicke)
11. Boarderline (Feat. Josiah Bell)
12. Ready for Love
13. Still Love You
14. Oliver Twist (Remix)
15. One Love (with David Guetta)
16. I’m the Shit (Estelle Remix)
17. Funky Dineva (Speaks 2)
18. Waste My Time (BMH Remix)
19. I Wanna Love You
20. Fly Girl Power (Feat. Rapsody)
21. To Remember Me
22. Which Way To Go (with Consequence)
23. Star (with Kardinal Offishall)
24. Hey Girl (with John Legend)
25. Funky Dineva (Speaks 3)
26. Play My Part
27. Everyday Stuggle (Feat. Rhymefest)
28. Dance With Me
29. Paragraphs of Love (with Ghostface Killah & Vaughn Anthony)
30. Mercedes Benz (with David Banner)
31. No Other Love (with John Legend)
32. My heart (Remix) (with Wayne Marshall & Mavado)
33. Grown Man (with Gucci Mane)
34. Pretty Please (Love me) (Feat. Cee-Lo Green)
35. Freedom (Feat. Talib Kweli & John Legend)
36. Funky Dineva Speaks 4
37. DJ Play the Beat

Download Estelle – All of Me: The Reminder mixtape here 

April 12, 2012

Preston Play

Preston Play is the producer behind Mic Righteous’ latest release Kam-Pain. Having been brought up in Cape Town, he was introduced from a young age to music from his parents who were singers and owned a music bar there, and in the townships where he would join in playing homemade instruments. After the success of Kam-Pain and recently opening up for Talib Kweli on the UK leg of his tour, Preston Play releases an instrumentalist mixtape, singing all the hooks and harmonies himself, ready for any artist to record on it.

How did being raised in Cape Town play a part in your journey in music?
I lived on the outskirts of the Cape Town flats and near a township called Khayelitsha… Half the kids from my school lived there so obviously that was where I played and ran riot as a younger. Music is a big part of people lives in the townships, they don’t have much, but they do have each other and music. It’s not rare to find groups of people banging water drums and homemade instruments and I used to watch and dance along with my mates. Then obviously as a kid you start to want to get involved so I started banging drums and singing with everyone. It was a fun time and I learned a lot. My parents also owned a large Music Bar and I grew up in the “Bar Life” surrounded by singers and bands. It was cool as a kid. I used to love it.

Your parents were singers. Would you say this had a big impact on you?
Yeah well my dad is a great singer, he won’t admit it now though but he used to sing Roy Orbison songs at the bar nightly and was amazing. He sung all the oldies, Roy, Elvis, and Eric Clapton. My mum used to sing anything. She was really talented. I remember even at home, she would always be in the music room with headphones on playing records and singing and making mixtapes. Music was a big part of my family’s life growing up.

Did you always know you would become an artist?
You know its funny, from back then, at the age of 11, when my parents got me my first keyboard, I knew I wanted to “do music”. I have held over 20 different jobs, all in different sectors, including training and becoming a qualified chef. I always felt miserable though and hated every minute of them. Music is all I’ve ever wanted to do.

You also moved to Spain for 2 years. Musically what was the biggest thing you picked up from being there?
Spain is my second home; I have a real strong bond with Spain and feel at peace over there. I have a flat there and try to get over there as much as possible. Whilst I was there, when I was younger I worked in a Flamenco bar. I learned about melody, rhythm and the importance of music as a healing tool. The Spanish see music differently from us; to them it is a very community based activity. Everyone comes together you know?

Do you incorporate Spanish and African musical influences into your production now?
African, definitely…. My thing is percussion. I spend hours getting my drums and percussion right, sometimes before I’ve even written a line I will get that right and then play my melodies over the drums half the time, as was the case on most of ‘Kampain’. Spanish music is a strong influence on my melodies too. As I said, I learned a hell of a lot!

Why did you decide to MC on pirate radio for a year? Was MCing something you had always done?
Yeah I kind of just got into writing lyrics and MC’ing on the garage scene for a while…I still bar occasionally but only very rarely. But my music is my thing now…

Why did you start to take production seriously after being on the pirate radio circuit for a year?
I used to get bored of MC’ing over beats everybody had hit, so I decided to make my own. I sold my car and everything of value that I owned and hustled the rest to raise enough to buy a mac, a Yamaha Motif synth and an MPC. I didn’t even have speakers I done it all through headphones. It took me about 5 months more to get money for monitors! Eventually, with enough practice and WEEKS spend learning on YouTube and from other producers, I started to get good. I remember going into studios with a pen and pad and writing down everything I was shown and told. It was peak, but I done it the right way. I learned to do things properly, and all my own.

Do you believe that to make it in music you have to sacrifice everything?
For me, yes 100%. I sacrificed everything, I still do, daily. I think if you want something bad enough, you will always do what you have to do and par everything else to get that thing. If you don’t, you can’t want it that bad. I have sacrificed everything for my music. You have no idea…. Hopefully now I will start to get the recognition I feel I deserve. In the last year I have not only secured a great working relationship, and gained a good friend in Mic Righteous, but through putting in the years of work, I’ve been able to open for The Game, Talib Kweli and Lowkey with Mic as his DJ/Producer. I feel that’s a good achievement in itself for me, last year no one knew who I was hardly.

How do you decide what artists to work with?
You know what, I will contact someone if I see that raw talent and potential. I’m not interested in gun talk and how much drugs someone sells. I love rap that means something and rappers who are true to themselves and real. I will never work with someone trying to be something they are not. My art won’t work for them. There’s too much feeling in what I do…I don’t think they would get that.

You and Mic Righteous released ‘Kampain’ together. Tell us about what work went into this, and how you both put it together.
I contacted Mic and his manager, (Now also my manager) about a year ago and sent the track, ‘Take Me Away’ with the hook on it. They contacted me back straight away and we got Mic in the studio that week to record it. It went on to ‘Yob Culture’, Mic’s debut mixtape. I guess we just clicked you know? Making a mixtape together just seemed like a natural progression from doing a great track together. Next thing I know, he comes for a couple days and we have done 3 tracks, then comes for another couple days and we do another 4 then a couple weeks and we got a banging mixtape! Mic’s work rate is sickening. Perfect for my work rate.

‘Show Of Force’ is released this Friday 13th April and is an instrumental mixtape. Tell us about the ideas and concepts of this new project.
I decided that the time was right to put out something different for not only the supporters, but for artists who are struggling to find good instrumentals on the web. I have packed it with this sound Mic and I kind of came up with whilst making ‘Kampain.’ It’s got a stripped back feel. I got rid of all the generic snare rolls and “bells and whistles” I hear so many producers pack into their beats, and focused more on the real melodies and live sound that I love to listen to. I also don’t really use samples…No disrespect to anyone but I personally have never been a fan, to me, making music should be exactly that, making music. I have 2 tracks on there that use a sample, but only really to show that I can.

You sing the hooks and harmonies on nearly every track. Why did you decide to do this?
I don’t believe any producer has done it before? I wanted to give the supporters something fresh and exciting…You can listen to it as an album without any artists on it, or record vocals on it…. As far as I know, no producer has done this so I’m excited to see the response.

All my hooks and harmonies are 100% free use. Royalty free.

Which artists would you like to work with next?
I have my eyes set on a few different artists I’d love to work with and also a few up and coming artists I am keen to help develop. I am working on a lot right now.

What’s next for Preston Play after the ‘Show Of Force’ release?
Mic and I will be working on more music and I have a few things lined up to keep me busy. I’m just enjoying what I’ve got myself into and taking it day by day. I still just sit here everyday pouring my heart out into the keys…Hopefully that will get me somewhere…

Show Of Force is out Friday 13th April 2012 from

Follow Preston on Twitter @IAmPrestonPlay

March 26, 2012

Review: Talib Kweli at HMV Forum

Talib Kweli came to London on Tuesday 20th March 2012 to HMV Forum for his first gig of his UK tour. With some new songs out from the legend, and the album ‘Prisoner of Conscious,’ on the way, anticipation was high as Flavour’s Shireen Fenner headed down there.

Mic Righteous the young UK rapper opened for Talib, performing tracks off his new mixtape Kampain, with his friend/producer/DJ on the decks Preston Play, providing Mic with the soundtrack to his performance. Opening with the track Kampain was perfectly suited, as the track gives a solid introduction and background knowledge about Mic, with him telling the audience, “that tune gets me gassed.” Next up was ‘On Your Ones,’ where he interacted with the crowd saying, “Let me see hands in the air,” and pretty much all the crowd were taking part, warming them up. My personal favourite track off the mixtape ‘I’ll Try My Best,’ where he raps from a fans perspective, was performed to the crowd, who were really starting to enjoy themselves now, with Mic dropping the microphone and leaving the stage, leaving the audience wondering what had happened. Of course after 30 seconds he is back on to perform the rest of the song with more passion and delivery. Talking to the audience again to explain his next track, ‘Look At My Balls,’ he said, “This is for the fake, the part time rappers. Make some noise for the real hip hop fans.” This track was delivered with such intensity; you could tell he was consumed by the passion of his lyrics. A freestyle was followed by the closing track ‘Winding Road,’ where the stage lights were turned off and everyone in the audience turned their phone lights on.

Lowkey the second opener for Talib Kweli was on next. There were plenty of Lowkey fans in the audience and when his second track ‘They Call Me A Terrorist,’ came on, hands were in the air waving side to side. ‘My Soul’ was also a winner, with Lowkey asking the crowd to sing ‘You can’t take my soul,’ and everyone singing along. Up next was his Fire In The Booth, with so many people knowing the words and the crowd starting to have fun and dance, accompanied by a freestyle at the end. ‘Hand On Your Gun,’ was next with everyone in the audience putting their hands up. Lowkey then talked to the audience asking them to say, “Hip hop ain’t dead, it’s in London,” and the gig turned into a chant. ‘Obama Nation,’ was next on the schedule for Lowkey. Singer Mai Khalil was brought out to perform, ‘Million Man March,’ showcasing her amazing vocal talent. The closing track, and in true Lowkey style, was ‘Long Live Palestine,’ with people in the crowd jumping up and down and pumping their fists in the air to these lyrics.

Talib Kweli’s DJ was up next to warm the crowd up for what everyone had been waiting for, asking ‘Y’all ready for Talib Kweli?’ He bursts onto the stage full of energy getting onto the first track of the night, ‘Say Something.’ “London how are you feeling?” he asks the audience, who replies with shouting, ready to hear more from the hip hop legend. He gets into track, ‘Listen,’ one of his most popular tracks. A few tracks in and he then asks ‘How many Beastie Boy fans we got in London?’ before rapping over one of their tracks, then mixing it into Drake’s ‘I’m On One,’ this bit got the crowd buzzing with the audience raving. One of the highlights of the night was Talib sampling “All The Lonely People,’ by Paul McCartney stating, “Paul McCartney denied the sample, but my s**t is doper than all the other s**t,” and when the beat dropped on the track the crowd again went crazy, enjoying the moment. The next track up was off his next album ‘Prisoner of Conscious,’ and his latest release, ‘Distractions,’ with him stating, “The first time I performed this track was at Occupy Wall St.” At the end of the track Talib gives us a freestyle highlighting why he is one of the best in the game, with the crowd clapping and cheering at the end. The DJ and Talib Kweli swap positions with him behind the booth rapping and saying, “hand in the air, say turn it up,” and the DJ at the front of the stage dancing, and then Kweli putting on Jay Z and Kanye’s track N***s In Paris. He then raps over Tyga’s ‘Rack City,’ showing us his versatility as an artist too. ‘Definition’ sent the crowd absolutely berserk from his Blacksmith days with Mos Def. The next section of the show was dedicated to his work with J Dilla, with the crowd moshing. It was getting towards the end of the night and Talib wanted everyone to remember the show as one of the best saying, “We gonna have a good old fashioned sing a long right now, clap your hands to the beat,” perfoming the track with him and Hi Tek, ‘The Blast,’ in between telling everyone to keep dancing. He leaves the stage and we think it’s all over, but the crowd want him back and are chanting, “Kweli, Kweli,” and stomping their feet. He bursts back onto the stage with as much energy as before, giving us some more classic tracks including ‘I Try,’ with Mary J Blige and the Just Blaze produced track ‘Never Been In Love.’

All in all, the show was definitely one for the hip hop lovers, full of intensity, passion and love for the music. The delivery and crowd interactions from all the performers were on point, showing that all of them had thought about their fans. I couldn’t have asked for better from the legend that is Talib Kweli, even after years in the game and being one of the most respected hip hop artists, he still performed throughout the show with as much energy, vibrancy and passion as ever.

March 13, 2012

Talib Kweli

Talib Kweli is one of the few rappers making music that speaks volumes and is still commercially feasible at the same time. The Brooklyn rapper came onto the music scene in the late 1990’s as a member of Black Star, educating and entertaining people with his music, which is perhaps why he was named by Jay Z and 50 Cent as their favourite rapper.

After the release of many albums and singles, himself and long time manager Corey Smith launched Blacksmith Music, signing an exclusive deal with Warner Bros with artists such as the highly respected female rapper Jean Grae, and super group Strong Arm Steady which includes Xzibit, Krondon, Mitchy Slick and Phil The Agony. Talib Kweli’s new album ‘Prisoner Of Conscious’ will be out this year, with the first song off it ‘Distractions,’ released two months ago.  Talib will be back in the UK this month on tour, with support from Lowkey and Mic Righteous.

1. Your first name in Arabic means ‘student’ or ‘seeker’. Do you feel that you have lived up to this name, and if so what would you consider that you are a student of?

I strive to live up to my name. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. I always study details so I am a student of everything I see. But mostly of music.

 2. How would you order money, power, and respect if you had to list them in order of importance and why?

Respect, Power, Money. Success is measured in happiness not paper. The power that a respected man commands trumps the power a rich man commands. It’s in the long run, so it’s hard for people to see.

3. Do you think that it is possible to achieve money, power and respect without any compromise?

Depends on what compromise you mean because everyone compromises something in life even you and I, but if you mean without compromising integrity, then certainly yes.

4. Do you feel that your educated background ever made it harder for more impoverished listeners to relate to your content?

Yes, I feel that there are times when my lyrics may get too nerdy, but I feel I’ve learned how to embrace it without alienating the listener who may not get it. This took time, and it wasn’t easy.

5. What do you feel your position and role in hip hop is?

I feel like I’m a connector. I connect with like-minded artists like Yasiin, Hi Tek, Kanye, Mad Lib, Jean Grae, Common, The Roots etc and I feel I somehow keep these artists connected. I also find a way to connect with artists who do different genres of hip hop than what I do, and newer artists as well.

 6. What section of society do you think your music appeals to most?

Those who appreciate quality. Regardless of age, race, creed or region.

 7. You are often described as the most underrated artist in hip hop. Would you agree with this appraisal and why do you think this is?

There are artists more underrated than me. But I certainly ain’t overrated I know that much.

 8. As your career has progressed and moved forward your content has naturally evolved. Do you feel any pressure or constraints to stay true to the style and content that people first fell in love with?

I like the sound I’ve developed over the years, I enjoy it. On top of that I feel that I owe something to the people who have invested in my sound over the years. So I will always have an album or mix tape or something out that represents that style. But as an artist I get bored easily and have to try new stuff, whether fans like it or not. It’s always about striking a balance.

9.  Jay Z formerly shouted you out on ‘Moment Of Clarity,’ and you responded on ‘Ghetto Show.’ How did it feel to have your lyricism appreciated and publicly praised by arguably hip hops most successful artist?

It felt right. Jay Z has always been one of my favorites from Original Flavor days, and I always looked to him as an example. Still do.

10. What were the reasons that led to you selecting Lowkey and Mic Righteous to support you on your UK tour?

I didn’t select them; I usually am not involved with the selection of openers. But I am glad they were chosen. I’ve heard great things from them and I look forward to sharing the stage with them.

11. You will be touring in the UK soon. Where in the world would you next like to go on tour that you haven’t been to yet?

Iceland. Or the Middle East.

12. What single character trait or attribute do you most respect in another artist?


13. What are you liking about the UK hip hop scene at the moment?

Not really up on the UK scene. But Low Key and Mic Righteous are both ill, and I’m not just saying that because they are on the bill. I rock with Kano too, and my man Sway.

14. Any plans for a future collaboration with any UK artists?

I get down with whoevers nice and serious about getting down.

 15. Following ‘Prisoner of Conscious,’ what is next for Talib Kweli?

San Juan. I want to move to Puerto Rico.

Quick Fire Round

  • Artists you respect the most?


  • Most powerful person in hip hop?

Kanye West

  • What would you prefer money, power or respect?


  • What can’t money buy?