Gravitas, Talib Kwelis sixth solo album, began to take shape in May, during the weeks following the release of Kwelis fifth solo album, Prisoner of Conscious. Loaded with guests, Prisoner of Conscious was well received and reviewed, and gained Talib many new fans to add to his already large following. However, Kweli soon found himself wanting to record more personal material and really document his journey thru music. When singer Ryan Leslie, who created the platform that Kweli is using to sell Gravitas, approached him with the idea of selling direct to fan, songs that were just rough ideas began to fully form in Kwelis head.
“One of my favorite things about today’s hip hop is the honesty,” says Kweli. Today’s most popular rappers aren’t always politically correct or deep, but the best are unflinchingly honest. While my story may be documented, I have never truly told my story thru music. My true fans have heard bits and pieces thru the years, but Gravitas sums up my experience until now.”
The new songs reflect a continued determination and drive in Talib Kweli, impressive because of the fact that Prisoner of Conscious was released less than six months ago. Considered one of the top tier lyricist of all time and name dropped in songs by everyone from Jay-Z to 2 Chainz, Talib Kweli has defied the odds and remained relevant while never compromising his art, quite a feat in today’s music business. The respect he is given is evident when Raekwon from the Wu Tang Clan drops by to spit on Violations. Talib Kweli has also showcased new artists throughout his storied career, giving breaks to people like Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole long before they were embraced by the mainstream. This streak continues with Brooklyn’s own UnderAchievers, who pop up on the Statik Selektah produced New Leaders. The OhNo produced Art Imitates Life features classic lyricism from Kweli, Rah Digga and Black Thought from the legendary Roots, and Austin’s guitar prodigy Gary Clark Jr. shows up for Demonology. All of this leads up to Gravitas’ final track, Colors of You, featuring Mike Posner and produced by the late, great J Dilla of Slum Village fame. [info from gg]