I Can't Call It: Radio Silence - Talib Kweli

Posted On Monday, November 20, 2017

It's truly amazing that it's been 19 years since BlackStar dropped their debut album & I first heard the name Talib Kweli. When BlackStar dropped I was still hosting Strictly Hip Hop, Morgan State's hip hop show and I remember one of my interns Sha used to always beat me in the head about how Talib was SOOOOOO much doper then Mos and I'd always tell dude that he was buggin'. At the time I looked at Talib's relationship to Mos the same way I looked at Phife's relationship to Tip, which was basically just being  a side kick. It wasn't until Talib & Hi Tek dropped their debut album "Train of Thought" that I was able to actually hear what Sha had been telling for a good two year and that was Talib was dope as hell! I think when BlackStar dropped I couldn't actually "hear" Talib because I felt like Mos was the 2nd coming of the hip hop messiah. But now hearing Talib dolo?!?!? Yeah, money was nice. Now between that Reflection Eternal album (which is  a 5 mic classic IMO) in '00 to present date, Talib has dropped 13 solo and/or collabo albums. Have I loved them all? Nah. Have I hated them all? Nah. Have some been dope? Yup. Have some been subpar? Yup. So am I excited for another Talib dolo album? Nope.

So, I'm sure most folk are wondering how I ended up listening to an album that I just said I could care less about, let alone take the time to write a review for it, right? See, what had happened was I was scrolling the net one day and came across the video for the first single "Traveling Light" feat. Anderson Paak and since Paak is that dude I figured I give it a listen...and guess what? That ish was DOPE! This dude Kwe said "then I'll be back in a flash, I'm Barry Allen mixed with Harry Allen"....wait, what?!?!? This dude just said he's the Flash mixed with the media assassin made famous from Chuck's shout out on "Don't Believe The Hype?!?!?!" Word?!?!? You spittin like that in '17 huh Kwe? Welp...you got my ears now. 

"Radio Silence" sets off with "The Magic Hour" which is dope and has Talib telling us he's the "last one to fall asleep and the first one to wake up" and I already told ya'll how dope the album's first single "Traveling Light" feat. Anderson Paak is so you're good money with that jawn. "She's My Hero" is one of he most important songs I've heard over the past 20 years and is built on the foundation of De La's "Millie Pulled A Pistol On Santa" and tells the true story of Bresha Meadows having to make the decision of "do you kill yourself or kill the monster that's making you suicidal?" "Chips" featuring Waka Flaka isn't as bad as most boom bap folk would think, "Knockturnal" is dope and the title track "Radio Silence" has Kwe breaking down "when I'm gettin' introspective, that's radio silence/when I'm f-ckin up program directives, that's radio violence." "The One I Love" feat. BJ the Chicago Kid is dope as hell and has Kwe speaking on the ups and downs of relationships, "when you stop calling that was a bad sign, remember you would blow up the batline now flatline, I was scared to fall asleep so I nap light, one eye open and my phone in my path of sight/hoping I don't wake up to a cat fight, exposed like them hotel sheets in the black light" and "Heads Up Eyes Open" feat. Rick Ross is so dope, so soulful and so gospeldelic all wrapped up into one you can go ahead and skip church this Sunday cause you've got your weekly blessing right here. 

I truly can't explain how dope the Lord Quest produced "Let It Roll" is and "Write At Home" is cool if you're into that Def Poetry scene but my fave banger on "Radio Silence" is "All of Us" featuring the other missing rap messiah Jay Electronica (the first one being Mr. Bey himself) and has both Talib and Jay blacking out. Kwe setting it off with "if our struggle is a strain then the strain is dominant, my name is prominent for entertainment that's laced with consciousness/but really its just common sense like Lonnie Lynn, you don't need binoculars to see the light coming through the dome like it's an oculus" and then Jay assassinates his verse with "I tarried through the turbulent month of Ramadan, sweating through the night just like the Holy Prophet/then reappeared on the stage in BK with the Ummah/shoulder to shoulder with J Cole and Kweli, just before Jehovah the God crowned me the king with his golden locket/Alhamdulilah we've come really far ain't it, the little engine who could,  could power any car can't it/the mothers in Chiraq say the murders getting burdensome, the cries of the despised was heard flying out of Ferguson/the last days and times, the holy Quran and Bible we on the last page and line, the verse with all the babies dying." 

One of the most important New Years resolution I made a couple of years ago was to be able to admit when I'm wrong and I was hella wrong about not wanting to peep this new Talib album. The fact that this dude dropped a classic album 17 years ago and is STILL putting out not only quality music but quality music that has a message and it's dope?!?!? Come on ya'll...you gotta give it up to dude. Cause I double dog dare any of ya'll to find a MC who was dope 17 years ago and is still dope in this new school day and age of mumble rap. I'll wait...but int he meantime while I'm waiting ya'll need to do yourself a favor and get Kwe's "Radio Silence" in your rotation ASAP and thank me later for the cosign...you're welcome.

4 outta 5 mics

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