Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

Consumer Guide:
  User's Guide
  Grades 1990-
  Grades 1969-89
Books
Writings:
  CG Columns
  Rock&Roll& [new]
  Rock&Roll& [old]
  Music Essays
  Music Reviews
  Book Reviews
  Playboy
  Blender
  Rolling Stone
  Video Reviews
  Pazz & Jop
  Recyclables
  Newsprint
  Lists
  Miscellany
Bibliography
NPR
NAJP Blog
Web Site:
  Home
  Site Map
  What's New?
Carola Dibbell
CG Search:
Google Search:

Talib Kweli & Hi Tek [extended]

  • Reflection Eternal [Rawkus, 2000] **
  • Quality [Rawkus, 2002] Dud
  • The Beautiful Struggle [Rawkus, 2004] *
  • Ear Drum [Warner Bros., 2007]

See Also:

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Reflection Eternal [Rawkus, 2000]
"Anybody can tell you how it is/What we puttin' down right here, this is how it is, and how it could be" ("Eternalists," "For Women"). **

Talib Kweli: Quality [Rawkus, 2002] Dud

Talib Kweli: The Beautiful Struggle [Rawkus, 2004]
Maybe it's beautiful to mention Sierra Leone and build chart cred on the same record, maybe just impossible ("Around My Way," "Going Hard"). *

Talib Kweli: Ear Drum [Warner Bros., 2007]
Talib Kweli earns the respect he gets. He's got plenty of brains and enough flow, and though his attempts to make conscious rap commercial inspire purist sniping, he's balanced the two with integrity and grace. But four solo albums in, it can't be an accident that he's done his signature work with collaborators--Mos Def (Black Star), Hi-Tek (Reflection Eternal), and many, many cameos (try the Coup's "My Favorite Mutiny"). The man simply lacks spark. Kweli's Warner debut features yet more cameos--Kanye! Norah Jones! UGK!--and many, many producers. Though it's admirably consistent and pretty darn OK, it lacks a knockout track to counterbalance the complaints about the King James Bible and swine toothpaste. Closest is one to his kids, with Musiq Soulchild adding music and soul, child. Right after, "Listen!!!" establishes its right to bang on your title orifice. But then there's Justin Timberlake's bonus cut. JT--eschew philosophy! You sing, therefore you are. [Rolling Stone: 3]