Talib Kweli

Brooklyn, New York, in terms of hip-hop, is a universe unto its own. Big Daddy Kane, Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z, Mos Def — these Brooklyn-bred rappers make up an all-star roster of the genre’s most influential and talented MCs. Though remaining determinedly underground, Talib Kweli continues his borough’s stellar legacy. From his membership in the late-’90s duo Black Star, with partner Mos Def, to his 2007 solo release, Eardrum, Kweli has proffered the sort of wordy, intellectual verse that critics love and underground heads savor. His nasal delivery combines the Afrocentric perspective of Tupac Shakur with the observational talent of Common. His streams of consciousness flow like spoken word, often disregarding the rhythmic constraints of the beat. Lyrically, Kweli goes where he wants, and his listeners happily follow. Kweli has crept closer to mainstream popularity in recent years, yet he still doesn’t seem to court mass appeal (or money) with the same ardor of his more popular Crooklyn forebears. Aided by MC and producer Hi-Tek, Kweli will be joined at The Granada by Steddy P, a local rapper of a similarly conscious ilk.

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