Black Star

Black Star

4.8 12
by Mos Def, Talib Kweli

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Taking Black nationalist inspiration from Marcus Garvey and drawing on such musical influences as A Tribe Called Quest's Midnight Marauders and Brand Nubian's One for All, Black Star's Mos Def and Talib Kweli have created one of the most…  See more details below


Taking Black nationalist inspiration from Marcus Garvey and drawing on such musical influences as A Tribe Called Quest's Midnight Marauders and Brand Nubian's One for All, Black Star's Mos Def and Talib Kweli have created one of the most important hip-hop recordings ever. Highlights include "Astronomy (8th Light)," which is propelled by a hypnotic spoken intro that segues into the insinuating bass line, and the dancehall inspired "Re: Definition." Refuting the nihilism of gangsta rap and the conspicuous consumption of mainstream hip-hop, the duo offers conscious rhymes free of sanctimony and pop zeal. Favoring lean backing tracks, while highlighting strong bass hooks, sophisticated drum syncopation, and the rhythmic variety of their lyrical cadences, Black Star turn down the volume without losing the beat -- reviving hip-hop's role to provide social commentary in the process.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jason Kaufman
While Puff Daddy and his followers continued to dictate the direction hip-hop would take into the millennium, Mos Def and Talib Kweli surfaced from the underground to pull the sounds in the opposite direction. Their 13 rhyme fests on this superior, self-titled debut as Black Star show that old-school rap still sounds surprisingly fresh in the sea of overblown vanity productions. There's no slack evident in the tight wordplays of Def and Kweli as they twist and turn through sparse, jazz-rooted rhythms calling out for awareness and freedom of the mind. Their viewpoints stem directly from the teachings of Marcus Garvey, the legendary activist who fought for the rights of blacks all around the world in the first half of the 20th century. Def and Kweli's ideals are sure lofty; not only are they out to preach Garvey's words, but they also hope to purge rap music of its negativity and violence. For the most part, it works. Their wisdom-first philosophy hits hard when played off their lyrical intensity, a bass-first production, and stellar scratching. While these MCs don't have all of the vocal pizzazz of A Tribe Called Quest's Phife and Q-Tip at their best, flawless tracks like the cool bop of "K.O.S. (Determination)" and "Definition" hint that Black Star is only the first of many brilliantly executed positive statements for these two street poets.

Product Details

Release Date:
Rawkus / Umgd

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Mos Def   Primary Artist,fender rhodes
Talib Kweli   Primary Artist,Track Performer
DJ Hi-Tek   Crowd Noise
Weldon Irvine   Keyboards,Track Performer
Vinia Mojica   Track Performer
Jane Doe   Track Performer
Apani B Fly Emcee   Vocals
Ge-ology   Crowd Noise
Richard Mason   Crowd Noise
Conunon   Track Performer

Technical Credits

DJ Hi-Tek   Producer,Cut
Jim Godsey   Engineer
Charlie Mack   Engineer
Kieran Walsh   Engineer
Ricky Walters   Composer
Walt   Producer,Engineer
DJ Evil Dee   Cut
Vaughn Sessions   Engineer
Success   Engineer
Brent Rollins   Artwork,Cover Art
Black Star   Artwork,Art Direction
Talib Kweli   Producer
88-Keys   Producer
Pat Viola   Engineer
Shawn J. Period   Producer
Ge-ology   Producer
J. Rawls   Producer
Mos Def   Composer

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Customer Reviews

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Black Star 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
OK, so this has been out for a li lwhile now, but its just as good now as when it first hit. Even my mother jams to this! Not only do they came with clever rhymin', but they also cultivate minds along the way. A definite must have, and not only for hip hop collectors !
Guest More than 1 year ago
These days, too many artists tend to degrade women and rhyme about materialistic things. Black Star's music is not only socially conscious, but it is artistically brilliant!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm buying this cd for my cousin for christmas. It must be good because he's bought it, then lost it, bought it again, lost it again, bought it a third time, and lost it a third time! He's given up on buying it for himself because he just keeps losing it, but he really likes the cd, and figures that if he gets it for a gift, maybe he won't lose it this time!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is arguably the best album to come off of Rawkus; but not only that, it is one of the best ablums of the decade. Respect that!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This CD Is really good and I love Mos def so much. If you heard it then you would really love it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I first saw Black Star perform on Chapelle's Show a week or so ago and they just blew me away. This is the hip-hop album to end all hip-hop albums.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is one of the livest albums I had heard for a minute.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've listened to alot of late 90's albums and this is definitely the best of the bunch. Mos and Talib's chemistry is comparable to Q-Tip and Phife's (A Tribe..YOU KNOW!!). Anyway, this is a classic in every way (lyrics, beats, themes, etc..)At the time that this album surfaced hip hop was in the bling era. I'm surprised this album hasn't received five mics from the source. (I forgot they don't like so-called back-pack rap.)I greatly recommend this album to any true fan of hip hop. Check out the songs "Thieves in the Night", "Respiration", and "Definition".
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album brings those of us that were lost in the bling and hoes of hip hop, back to what hip hop and rap music was intended to do, inform and entertain. Mos and Talib did just that on this album. Each track has it's on flavor that will suit to anybody from Jazz Heads who like some really crisp drum lines and strings, to the heavy lyricists who choose to dig deep in wordplay. Mos Def and Talib Kweli do not disappoint on any particular song. Be sure to check out my personal favorites: Twice Inna Lifetime, Definition, RE: Definition, Brown Skin Lady, K.O.S. (Determination),Respiration, and Thieves in the night. Common even had time to stop through and flow on Respiration. Overall, this album has done hip hop a favor by bringing us back to what it's all about: information, education and entertainment.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago