Still, sometimes what you say matters more than how you say it. And on that score, Quality proves more successful. Kweli's one of the (very) few rappers who can name-check seminal author W.E.B. Du Bois without sounding pretentious. And the thoughtful vibe he affects throughout the disc nicely contrasts the mostly sunny grooves laid down by a rotating cast of savvy producers that includes DJ Quik.
"Look how love do/I practice the art of war for you/Like Sun-Tzu," Kweli spiels on the otherwise torpid "Talk to You." Elsewhere, the breezy "Waitin' for the DJ" and the kinetic "Gun Music" provide energetic highlights, while "Joy" belongs in the graveyard of indulgent songs about performers and their kids. Guest turns from a who's-who list of intelligent hip-hop -- Black Thought, Mos Def, Bilal, Pharoahe Monche -- and visits from Savion Glover (yes, he tap dances) and comedian Dave Chappelle help make Quality that rare breed: a hip-hop album that is as fun to listen to as it is authoritative.
Talib Kweli performs at the Cotton Club Sat., Nov. 30.
You've got a few of my faves listed here, plus a bunch I've never heard…
This is such a cool idea and the performance is great (I've been twice) but…
Ugliest bunch of girls I've ever seen.
Shuddup ya dumb beatnik