Talib Kweli has been knocking our socks off for years. Whether in his collaborations with artists like Mos Def, Kanye West, and ?uestlove or on his own solo work, he always shines. He's established himself as a rapper's MC and a hip-hop fan's source of consistently brilliant rhymes. And now he's getting serious.
Gutter Rainbows will be available (digitally only) this Tuesday, January 25th. It's Kweli's first self-released album and he's been touting it for a while as the type of album he's always wanted to make. You can actually hear it through the tracks: there's a dedication and enthusiasm that's contagious. The music and beats are solid, if not amazing at times. There are plenty of great guests on the album but Kweli shines brightest. He's perfectly in his element, and it's a sweet ride to take with him.
The first single, "Cold Rain," has been circulating since late last year. In case you haven't caught it yet, take a listen here first:
Click to play Talib Kweli - Cold Rain
"Tater Tot" tells a story of a solider just back from war who falls into some pretty interesting situations:
Click to play Talib Kweli - Tater Tot
And the title track looks back to a childhood in the Brooklkyn ghetto, while hinting at how beauty can arise from squalor:
Click to play Talib Kweli - Gutter Rainbows
This is the first great hip-hop album of 2011. Grab your copy Tuesday and let Talib Kweli know he's still on track, maybe more so than ever.