Monday, September 3, 2007

Talib Kweli CD Review

In January, Talib Kweli and Madlib leaked their nine track project – Liberation – to the internet and its followers of facebookers, myspacers and bloggers. At the time, Kweli stated that it wasn’t a sample of what Eardrum would be, but that is exactly what it seems to have been.

Eardrum, released August 17th matches Liberation with its harder-hitting lyrics and jazzy surrounding beats. The album reaches back through out all of Kweli’s past and brings back the things that work and some that don’t. Tracks like “Everything Man,” “Eat to Live,” and “Soon the New Day” submerse themselves in R&B beats and choruses while clearly identifying themselves as the work of Madlib. Hi-Tek is another blast from the past, producing the track “More or Less,” which haunts listeners with a repeating soulful na na na and crescendoing alto chorus.

Unfortunately some tracks cannot match the others. “Oh My Stars,” featuring Musiq Soulchild is cliché and just kind of lame. Calling your “baby” a star might slip past my eardrum once, but not when it’s repeated 20 times. “Hostile Gospel Pt. 2” dies the minute featured artist Sizzla opens his mouth. I don’t know what the attraction to the Jamaican/reggae ascent is, and maybe it’s just me, but it feels overused and out of place amongst Kweli’s jarring pace and biting tone.

Eardrum’s greatest strength is its samples and beats. Talib Kweli has a style. He speaks fast, with a preachy tone and sharp pronunciation. He cares about social issues, the plight of all people and the advancement of the human race. His words are always worth listening too, it’s just a matter of whether the beat allows you too or not. Never-the-less, Eardrum is another step forward. It returns Kweli to his rightful place at the head of the public pulpit, with the audience hanging on every word. Four out of five stars.

— By Nate Ley

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