AbsolutePunk.net
   Username
Password
 
Interview
Hint: Have a band you'd like to see interviewed? Tell us.
Inside AP.net

Talib Kweli - 05.15.07

Interviewed by: jaimej (05/15/07)
I'd like to thank Talib Kweli for taking the time out of his extremely busy schedule to do this for me, as well as Ayal Kleinman for making it happen. Thanks so much!


Who were your major influences growing up and what made you so interested in getting involved with the Hip Hop community?
My parents were my major influences growing up. Growing up in NYC, it was hard not to be involved in Hip Hop.


When did you realize that you had this natural talent and a voice that people would really relate and respond to?
When I was in elementary school, I would write and produce plays for my friends and family, and people's response to that made me realize that I had something special. I studied theatre at NYU for the purpose of translating those skills to my music.


When did you first recognize that this was something you could do as a career, and what were the next steps you took to achieve that goal?
In Junior High, everybody in my class wanted to be a rapper. I knew that in High School it was something I wanted to do seriously, so I immersed myself in Hip Hop culture; going to clubs, open mics, freestyling in the park. In College, I dropped out to get a job and work on music, and there was no turning back.


Who is your favorite artist that you have collaborated with? Who that you haven't already worked with would you like to most?
Itís too hard of a question to say who is my favorite! I've learned a lot from Mos Def, De La Soul, The Roots, DJ Quik, Hi-Tek, and Kanye West.


Whose albums are you currently spinning? I find that certain albums that I own are timeless; do you have any long time favorites that you know will never get put away?
John Coltraneís Love Supreme (never gets put away), Jay-Z's Reasonable Doubt, A Tribe Called Questís Midnight Marauders; there are so many, I could go on for days. Right now I'm listening to Jean Grae and Strong Arm Steady, my artists on Blacksmith Music.


I know when you recorded The Beautiful Struggle, you chose the tracks first and wrote the lyrics based on how each track made you feel; whereas with Quality you did the exact opposite and chose what tracks worked best with the lyrics you had penned. Which do you feel represented you the best and how do you think that relates to the way people viewed each album?
I think that The Beautiful Struggle was a stronger collection of songs, but Quality might have flowed better as an album, because I was able to go wherever I wanted with the subject matter.


I'm fairly certain we share the same stance when it comes to politics, specifically the choice of whether or not to vote. However, all government opinions aside, do you feel that our country is ready to elect a President such as Hilary Clinton or Barack Obama? How do you feel that such a change would affect the state or our country as a whole?
I do think the country is ready to elect to a woman or person of color, I don't think itís the typical stereotypes that hold those nominees back. Dem's have to do a better job of playing better politics to push their agenda. Itís more about the big ideas for the country at this level of politics.


Why do think it is that some artists try to stay far away from political opinion, whereas some make it their mission to spread the word?

I think artists are just a collection of people, just like any other profession. The same reason people don't care about politics what so ever, and some that watch CNN all day long.


What is the main goal or message that the Blacksmith Movement is trying to bring across? Do you feel like you have achieved this goal? If not, do you feel that you will ever achieve it?
Success is a journey, not a destination. The goal is to have a flag of appreciation for what the artist is trying to do, and I feel like we are on our way to achieving that.


Your collaboration with Mos Def on the Blackstar album is my favorite Hip Hop release of all time. Are you planning to work together again anytime soon or are you both just focusing on your solo careers at the moment?
To be honest, we are focusing on solo work, but Mos is one of my best friends, and of course we will be making more music together.


I've noticed within the last few years that albums rarely come out of time, and when they do they don't sell as well as they should. What is your take on the music industry today? How do you think it will progress within the next few years?
We can only put so much stock in release dates, an album comes out based on appetite of the fans, and music isn't selling well because people are consuming music a lot differently these days then labels think. CD sales are dwindling, Tower Records closed down; itís a different game out there.


How do you think the growth of the internet has affected the music industry today? Do you think it's had a positive or negative effect? How has it affected you personally?
Without the internet, my fans would have no place to hear my music, itís important that I harness that for my career. It allows me to keep in touch with the HH community, that sometimes the business of my career keeps me away from.


Pardon the pun, but how do you think the quality of music today has changed from years passed? Do you think the message is still there among the popular artists of today?
No, message music is not currently popular, who knows when that will change. I think the quality of music is changing by leaps and bounds.


A lot of artists are starting to collaborate with artists and groups of all different genres (i.e. Timbaland's latest release which features Fall Out Boy, The Hives, Elton John, etc.) Do you ever see yourself doing anything like that?
I've done that throughout my entire career, and I will continue to do it.


Thanks so much for taking the time out to answer these for us. Anything else you'd like to say to our readers?
I appreciate the support of the readers of AbsolutePunk.net, you guys have always been real with me. :)


Make sure you all pick up Eardrum, Talib's newest album, in stores July 24th!
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 42.
07:52 AM on 05/15/07
#2
mikelutzzz
Registered User
Offline
User Info.
No Avatar Selected
seems like such a true down to earth guy. awesome interview.
07:54 AM on 05/15/07
#3
holaamigo
tXc
Offline
User Info.
holaamigo's Avatar
love this guy .. his collaborations w/ Commen and mos def are the shizznit!
08:01 AM on 05/15/07
#4
average_jane
poppunkjunkie.blogspot.co m
Offline
User Info.
average_jane's Avatar
I've only recently started listening to a lot of hip hop, but it's easy to tell that Kweli is one of the best. Thank so much for this interview!
08:13 AM on 05/15/07
#5
soundofthebrown
http://weworemasks.com/
Offline
User Info.
soundofthebrown's Avatar
tyte interview. great artist.
08:19 AM on 05/15/07
#6
theguiltyfew
Registered User
Offline
User Info.
No Avatar Selected
class A interview from a class A guy.
08:45 AM on 05/15/07
#7
mewithcoldplay
everyday i'm hustlin'
Offline
User Info.
mewithcoldplay's Avatar
he's a badman...

good interview.
08:54 AM on 05/15/07
#8
invincibleXL
sick hearts
Offline
User Info.
invincibleXL's Avatar
thanks for posting.
09:04 AM on 05/15/07
#9
bradyreier
http://twitter.com/bradyreier
Offline
User Info.
No Avatar Selected
Haha, good read. I love Talib.
09:09 AM on 05/15/07
ArmaniMassacre
Death Defying Musician
Offline
User Info.
ArmaniMassacre's Avatar
I'll just say thank you for actually covering artists like this and making this site so much more diverse....he's an artist that really does try and make a positive impact....that should be appreciated by everyone...even if they don't like hip-hop.
09:12 AM on 05/15/07
Adeniz19
whikawhikawhaaat
Offline
User Info.
Adeniz19's Avatar
Good interview Jaime. I don't listen to that much hip hop but talib is as good as they get
09:40 AM on 05/15/07
Tom Good
Album Reviewer
Offline
User Info.
Tom Good's Avatar
Great interview Jaime, you asked some informative questions!
09:56 AM on 05/15/07
Big_Guy
Idle Will Kill
Offline
User Info.
Big_Guy's Avatar
good interview. this guy is one of the most talented artists in the game today
10:18 AM on 05/15/07
underthetalking
La Marea Roja
Offline
User Info.
underthetalking's Avatar
This has probably become my favorite interview on this site.
10:46 AM on 05/15/07
jaimej
too caught up in the beautiful
Offline
User Info.
jaimej's Avatar
I'll just say thank you for actually covering artists like this and making this site so much more diverse....he's an artist that really does try and make a positive impact....that should be appreciated by everyone...even if they don't like hip-hop.
Completely agree.

Good interview Jaime. I don't listen to that much hip hop but talib is as good as they get
Thanks Lino!

good interview. this guy is one of the most talented artists in the game today
Yep. He definitely doesn't get as much cred as he deserves. I hope with this album he can really break through!

This has probably become my favorite interview on this site.
Haha thanks, any particular reason?
Options
Buy the Music

NEWS, MUSIC & MORE
Search News
Release Dates
Exclusives
Best New Music
Submit News
CONNECT
Forums
Contests
RSS
Mobile Version
Banners, Flyers, Widgets
HIDDEN TREASURES
Free Music
Video News
Sports Forum
AP.net Related News
Recommendations
INFORMATION
FAQ
Contact Us
Copyright Policy
Terms of Service
Privacy Policy
FOLLOW
Twitter | Facebook
PropertyOfZack
PunkNews.org
UnderTheGun
Chorus.fm