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Even in hip-hop--a genre famous for auspicious debuts--Black Star, the first album from the team of Mos Def and Talib Kweli, stands out. It's not just because these guys know their history (an update of Slick Rick's classic "Children's Story," a fine jack of BDP's "The P Is Free" on "Definition," and shout-outs to 2Pac, Biggie, and the Rock Steady Crew) and have paid their dues. Mos Def had been bouncing around the Native Tongues family for years, and both he and Kweli are featured on the Soundbombing and Lyricist Lounge albums. No, Black Star stands out simply because it's a great album, an intelligent, progressive, and funky piece of work that showcases two great MCs, both of whom have internalized the best parts of Guru, Rakim, and Q-Tip. The album also features strong production from Shawn J. Period and DJ Hi-Tek (Kweli's partner in Reflection Eternal). --Randy Silver
- Simply clip Original Motorola 98325 Handsfree Clip-on Speaker-phone with belt clip to the back of
- Enjoy the convenience of hands free conversations - wherever and whenever you need it!
- Frees your hands so you can talk while performing other activities, like driving or working on the
- Also ideal for conducting conference calls anytime, anywhere.
- Stylish contours offer comfortable grip.
- Nice album
I don't like it as much as Talib Kweli's debut album with Hi-Tek but it is a very good album. Both emcees are out of this world when it comes to lyrical ability. I actually did not find the magic between Talib/Mos Def and DJ Hi-Tek. Hi-Tek was not flawless like on later albums but he was very nice. This still maybe my Favorite rap album from 1998 thought.
My Top Tracks are "Astronomy"-"Re: Definition"-"Resperation"
"Thieves in the night" and "Twice in a Lifetime"
Lyrics 10 Production 9 Replay 9 Entertainment 10...more info
- These Guys ARE New York
Every element of NYC hip-hop can be found on this cd. Mos Def even goes Slick Rick on us and does his own version of "Children's Story" ten years after the original. But once you get past the old school tributes, you can find some really excellent music on here. Nearly all of the songs are just laid back and relaxed, perfect for just chilling to. "Respiration" featuring Common is my favorite track on the cd and showcases the mellow grooves of this album the best, and its a great music video too.
A lot of times Mos Def proves to be the better half of the group (most notably on "Thieves in the Night"), but thats because Talib is the rookie on this album and Mos has been around for years. Nevertheless this is an underground classic and a great hip-hop album in general. A must buy....more info
- Dope emcees, not necessarly a dope LP
Don't get me wrong, I love Mos Def & Talib Kweli, but this LP was too rushed. You could tell Rawkus just wanted the two to spew out an LP and not take the time to seriously develop a solid album. But, this record did what Rawkus wanted, it opened up the non "record 12-inch" buying public to the Rawkus label.
The LP has some stand out tracks, but the best track was the "Respiration (remix)" which unfortunately was only on 12." BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!! Several of the tracks, like "Children's Story" which is a dope concept/cover of Slick Rick's song of the same title, suffers from weak production. And that's exactly the problem... dope rhymes... blah beats.
The stand out tracks:
Brown Skin Lady
I honestly think Mos Def's "Black On Both Sides" and Reflection Eternal's "Train of Thought" were better LPs. This CD is a decent introduction to the two emcees, but not their best work....more info
- AMAZING Hiphop album!
Ive been checking out lots of different hiphop/rap styles lately, and after previewing then buying this album, I have to say it's one of my favorites. The songs all are unique and I can listen to this so many times without getting bored of it! Mos(t) Def(inately) recommend this!...more info
- This is a great Hip-Hop album
Let me just start out by saying, "big ups to hip hop".This is not an album for people who like to hear rappers talk about cars, jewelry, and money. (As a matter of fact Children's Story is song about how rappers sell out). The subject matter ranges from women of color, black people running from life, life in Brooklyn, and having knowledge of yourself. Two great emcees collaborate on this cd: Mos Def and Talib Kweli. Both offer a great deal in this cd. Talib has the better lyrics, using his diction to convey his message of black unity and what it takes to be an emcee. Mos Def, while having superb lyrics himself, has more of a soulful sound. This is what makes them so good together, they have distinct stlyes and different approaches to their music. There is NO monotony in this cd.
The best song on here is Thieves In the Night. The best lyrics and the best production can be found in this track. Other notable songs are: Definition, ReDefinition, Brown Skin Lady, K.O.S., Respiration, and Twice Inna Life time. The latter is a "freestlye" which showcases such talents as Jane Doe, Punchline, and Wordsworth. The only negative is that there is not a second Blackstar album. ...more info
- YEAH!! TALIB & MOS BEST ALBUM!!!!!!!!
1. Intro -----
2. Astronomy (8th Light) - 4.5
3. Definition - 5
4. RE:Definition - 4
5. Children's Story - 5(HARD BASS!!!)
6. Brown Skin Lady - 4
7. B Boys Will B Boys - 5
8. K.O.S. (Determination) - 4.5
9. Hater Players - 5
10. Yo Yeah - 5
11. Respiration - 4
12. Thieves In The Night - 3.5
13. Twice Inna Lifetime - 4
Lyrics - 4.5/5
Production - 5/5...more info
- What started it all
This is the album that helped introduce the 2 most lyrically superior mc's to EVER hold a mic. Although the later works of kweli are unfortunatley failed maintstream market attempts, this is where he and mos really shine. they play off each other and the production is standard hi tek. all the tracks are amazing in their own right. the hit "definition" and the remix "re:definition" are the "hottest" tracks, but "K.O.S." and "brown skin lady" are the real gems here. BUY THIS AND CRY TEARS OF JOY....more info
- One of the greatest in the last 10 years
This is hip hop ats peak right here.....This is truly a landmark album that has inpired a generation of rappers from both the mainstream and underground....
A definate 5 mic classic it should have been....Get this!...more info
- Real Hip hop at its best.
Mos Def and Talib Kweli are both in my top 5 Greatest Hip hop artists of all time and this album proves why. With a perfect blend of style and class, lyrics and realism this CD truly lives up to the hype. I really appreciate what this type of music brings to the forefront. In a society full of MC's with clouded thoughts and twisted motives this CD is a breath of fresh air. Two brothers who do it for the love of Hip hop and shine all the way through. Truly the best Alliance in Hip hop hands down. ...more info
- Maybe the best. Ever.
If the RZA had not come up with his new theories on the postmodern than this would be unquestionably the best hip hop album of all time. Don't get me wrong - it may be the best ever. But it also might not be. Feel me?
I have cried listening to "Respiration" and "Thieves in the Night." If there has ever been a greater expression of the urban experience, well... I must have missed it. And I haven't missed much in hip hop. Trust me, if you don't own this album, you are missing out on something special. This is not just one of the greatest albums to emerge from hip hop's (semi) underground. This isn't just one of the greatest albums in hip hop history. This is one of the greatest albums to be produced - by any artist in any genre - in the past thirty years. This is, to our culture, what Foucault was to the original wave of postmodern thinking... in other words, the expression of our selves in this evolving musical landscape would not be complete without this group or these words or the ideas that are expressed.
If all you see it crime in the city when you listen to hip hop, you need to breath this in and let your narrative grow to help explain this existence that we are all participating in....more info
- An absolute classic in the hip-hop genre.
In today's glamorous and ultimately skin-deep hip hop scene, it is decidedly rare to find rappers with the lyrical dexterity, seamless flow, and poetic charm of Mos Def and Talib Kweli. And while these underground powerhouses garner more than enough acclaim on their own, it is when they record in tandem, under the moniker of "Black Star," that fans of the genre take notice and understand that the attention is well-deserved.
Upon first listen, anyone who is familiar with the style of Mos Def and Talib Kweli will not be surprised by the sound of their collaborative efforts. DJ Hi-Tek provides the rhythmic backbone for most of their tracks, and while it is an acquired taste to someone who is used to mainstream rap, the beats he mixes are so thoroughly unique and high quality that one can only wonder why he is still relegated to a relative no-name position as a back-up DJ for underground artists. His skills, combined with the lyricism of two of the best emcees on the planet, makes for a singularly unique m¨¦lange of socially-conscious and truly poetic raps with smooth, perfectly-rendered beats.
Though fans of Mos Def and Talib Kweli will surely love all or nearly all of the album, there are a few tracks that stand out as being so utterly perfect that one may ask themselves why these artists are still under the radar for the majority of hip-hop fans. "Brown Skin Lady," a pseudo-ballad with an eccentric 70's-style funk beat, is a song that anyone with a respect for quality production values can appreciate, regardless of how the subject matter applies to them. Similarly, the new-age ska/reggae beats and lyrics in "RE: Definition" are a testament to the abilities of Mos Def, who changes his sound several times throughout the album, ranging from a light-hearted tone in his solo remake of Slick Rick's "Children's Story," to the gritty and industrial raps of "Thieves in the Night." And though these all sound absolutely incredible, there is no doubt in this fan's mind as to what the best track on the album is.
"Respiration," a dark yet surprisingly flowing track featuring Common, embodies the heart and soul of true East Coast rap (both Kweli and Def were born and raised in Brooklyn, while Common is a Chicago native). A spanish-themed guitar riff denotes the beginning of the song, and Mos Def is the first to spit, laying out a haunting and wholly original round of raps that can only be described as genius in musical form. Talib Kweli steps up next, and though one can tell that he is less sure of his ability as an emcee than his partner, he is still fully capable of destroying the mic. One listen to his silky smooth flow will dispel any notions that he lacks skill as a rapper. The final stanza of the song comes courtesy of Common, who delivers a low-key but stinging rap that focuses on the death of his friend, and subtly admonishes listeners to avoid the trap of the "gangsta" lifestyle.
Though there are several more tracks on the album that deserve applause, it would be quite a bit easier to simply wrap up the review here with a simple conclusion. For any and all fans of true hip-hop, the lyrical underground rap that literally gives the listener chills, "Black Star" is a must-have album. Yes, it's nearly seven years old, and the newer albums from it's front men are lacking, but the simple truth of the matter is that truly great music never goes out of style.
FINAL SCORE: [9.5 / 10]
Top 3 Tracks: "Respiration" - "Brown Skin Lady" - "Thieves in the Night"
- Kweli and Mos Def? Give me a break.
Black Star is a great album for many reasons, but to me, they're all personal and unique to myself. I think the "best" music is the music that moves you. Blackstar reminds me of growing up, stirring up memories of walking around in the city with my dad. Most albums simply can't do that for you nowadays. Mos Def's flow is tight, Kweli's lyrics are deep, Hi-Tek is well, Hi-Tek. Definition, RE:Definition are obviously the big songs on this album. I love this album to death, and it's one of the few CD's I've played so much that the disc shattered in my cd player.
hey guy above me, Respiration doesn't open up with guys talkin about cars. They're talkin about grafiti. Its showing how ghetto kids spoke through the art of grafiti. "All you see is CRIME IN THE CITY" was spray painted on a car. ANYWAYS, this album is really good. I like Mos Def and Talib Kweli alot. They are two of the best lyricist in the game. My favorite song is actually "Respiration." I like "Children's Story" and "RE:Definition" too....more info
- Hellooooooooo Everybody
I let this tape rock til this tape popped! Must have hear dit a million times. Great CD. Great lyrics, great beats, etc......more info
- An awesome collaboration between two greats (Mos Def and Talib Kweli) - rap fans will love it!
I would argue that "Black Star" is much better than any of Mos Def's or Talib Kweli's solo albums (not to say that they aren;t bad - they both have classic albums), mostly because of how accessible and fun it is. The beats here are much much better, and both MCs are easier to hear and like on this album. I usually don't like Mos Def, but I actually like him a lot on "Black Star". The lyrics, as usual, are well-worth your time to listen to as they're well-written and discuss the real problems with the world today (mostly dealing with black culture, though). Basically every song here is instantly catchy and likable, which I couldn't say for most of either of their solo albums. I have no idea who did the production, but it's VERY good and relatively unique (I'm not sure how to describe it, but it's different and a welcomed change from most rap albums today). Basically, if you like rap, Mos Def or Talib Kweli, it's virtually impossible not to love "Black Star". Highly recommended!
the entire album!...more info
- A Welcome Respite...
...from the onslaught of meaningless, senseless, forgettable pseudo-hip-hop that continues its stranglehold on the genre...
Mos and Kweli dare to supplant the "yesteryear" of the culture and cerebral lyricism that made (SORRY, but it's the TRUTH!) Tribe a voice for millions of thought-starved heads. Where Mos is the Yin, Talib, without question, carves his "Yang" niche -- the duo complement each other perfectly.
OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION. Listening to this CD gives you a window to block party mic battles, the lore of breakdancing, and a true sense of belonging in the Black Diaspora. How can one CD lull you into a woozy state of lyrical bliss, while pimp-slappin' that a** into the realities of the music scene and Black Man's world-at-large?
This CD is not for the "get money, shake that thong" set -- All you non-believaz gets NO LOVE for this kind of project. If you ever dreamed of teaching your kids about hip-hop consciousness, dig this primer: Lost Poets, to BDP, to PE, to Tribe, to Black Star. Get this jont, and be proud that you did!...more info
- enjoyable listen
this is another classic album that everyone should have in their collection. the lyrics and beats are off the chain....more info
- Expect nothing but the best!!!
A couple of months ago I decided to pick up "The Beautiful Struggle" which was my first Talib Kweli album. Then I decided that I was going to check out everything that he has released. I kept seeing the reviews for this album.... Classic!!!..... One of the best Hip-Hop albums ever!!!! you know all that stuff so I had to check it out.
Lets say that I am 110% satisfied. Mos Def and Talib Kweli are the best duo in hip hop and I hope that they have a new Black Star album dropping soon. The production on this album was flawless. If you want to hear some high quality Hip Hop away from the mainstream, pick up this album along with both artists other albums.
My favorite tracks
7- B Boys will B Boys
12- Thieves In the Night
- here's a little story that must be told...
Mos Def and Talib Kweli are both great MCs on their own, but hip-hop works best when it's a collaborative effort. In this tradition comes Black Star, greater than the sum of its parts, which includes DJ Hi-Tek producing some tracks that are a perfect fit for the frenetic rhymes that sound somehow relaxed on this album. It also works as one big shout-out to all the good hip-hop that came before and a wagging finger at all the lesser hip-hop that gets passed off on the radio these days (see the excellent rework of "Children's Story"). And, since it was made in 1998, there's a lot of messages about how the over-selling of gansta culture is ending the lives of some of the best MCs, with Biggie and Tu-Pac getting more than a few mentions.
But unfortunately, the message is still valid 8 years later, with many rap acts marketed on how many times they've been shot or how many years they've spent in prison, while sheltered white suburban kids lap it up and prop up a bad set of role models for black youth. Def and Kweli are obviously fed up with all of it, and they infuse Black Star with the spirit of its namesake, Marcus Garvey's shipping line that was the symbol of the "back to Africa" movement.
Some of the celebrations of being Black come off a little clunky, such as "Brown Skin Lady", in which Kweli tells the titular woman her skin is the "inspiration for cocoa butter", but it's all earnest and surrounded by excessively good tracks, especially the one-two punch of "Definition" and "RE:Definition". "Respiration" is another stand-out, with carries that same sadness in its beat and lyrics as Wu-Tang's "Can It Be All So Simple?" while still keeping your head nodding. If you like good hip-hop, it's a given that you'll like this record. Highly recommended....more info
- Any discussion of hip hop is incomplete without it
Using the term "authentic" can be dangerous in describing music, but for many, Mos Def and Talib Kweli embody the term.
Prophetic Hip Hop was born in Brooklyn, NY. In this seminal album, Def and Kweli push hip hop into a new domain: the very real expression of urban space found in Wu Tang Clan, and the consciousness of Public Enemy, combined with a skill for narration and ease with poetry produce an album that marks a paradigm shift in hip hop.
Both Def and Kweli are artists in the truest sense of the word. They look not to integrate into the corporate establishment for affirmation, but to feed the soul. ...more info
- Great CD
I started listenin to Talib Kweli about wintertime last year. Since then i have collected his albums like Quality, Reflection Eternal, and The Beatiful Struggle. Just today I finally got this one and I have to say it is a great CD. Mos Def and Kweli both deliver it on the whole album and my favorite tracks are prolly Definition and Resperation. If u like underground rap that has a true meaning definetely pick this up....more info
- CLASSIC MATERIAL COURTESY OF MOS DEF, KWELI, AND HI-TEK
When I first bought this album, at first I thought it wasn't going to be as good as I thought it would be. But as soon as I pressed play, I was amazed with the production, the lyrical wisdom and wordplay, and the kind of atmosphere it creates. Here's a rundown on the tracks:
1. Intro- nice scratch by Hi-Tek and the lounge sample seems to fall in perfectly.
2. Astronomy(8th Light)- Has some of the nicest wordplay I heard in a minute. "Black" as a whole is the constant theme.
3. Definition- Ahh, yess...the infamous track that sampled BDP (got praise from the Source in their "151 greatest Hip-Hop songs of the past couple of years")
4. RE:Definition- Brooklyn banger...nuff said.
5. Children's Story- Mos Def solo track. Basiclly the same as the original by Slick Rick.
6. Brown Skin Lady- Talks about shorties they seen around the way. The hidden message in this track is that black women are beautiful even with out all of the make up and plastic surgery. This song reminds me of Bonita Applebaum by ATCQ.
7. B Boys Will B Boys- Strictly for the B-Boys from the days of shell-toe addidas, fat gold chains, sweatsuits, and Kangol hats. I mean, this is a true throwback to the days of Cold Crush, Rocksteady, Wild Style, and the Zulu Nation.
8. K.O.S.(Determination)feat. Vinia Mojica- Kweli's solo track. One of the deepest tracks on the album. Message on this track is the importance of Knowledge of Self and how it can help you throughout your lifetime. Vinia Mojica adds richness to the hook.
9. Hater Players- Gives a shoutout to the underground and to underground MC's that deserve what their skills are worth. Cause they should truly be livin it up rather than these big time cats.
10. Yo, Yeah- The only interlude on the C.D. As simple and as short as it is, it makes sense so perfectly. This track got me into watching Def Poetry Jam.
11. Respiration feat. Common- Explains about the lows of city life. Each verse gets real deep and the Wild Style intro ties into the theme of the track.
12. Thieves in the Night- The deepest track on the whole album. The topic's about head strong cats who supposedly aren't afraid of death.
13. Twice Inna Lifetime feat. Punchline, Wordsworth, Jane Doe- The Fortified Live remix comes and blows a 44 inch hole in your dome. Each verse comes like they're in competition with each other and straight up like a freestyle. Classic ish...
All in all this is the kind of album that will re-establish your hopes in Hip-Hop and expand your consiousness at the same time. One of those albums that sounds better in the dark or with the lights dimmed low or on a night drive thru the city. Whatever you do, get this '98 classic, today......more info
- An underground classic
I have to admit that this album did challenge me a bit. When I first bought the record I could not immediately take it in. I listened to it, recognized that there was some serious stuff going on there, but then put it down for a while.
When I did pick it up a while later I listened to it for a month straight and it revealed its timelessness to me. The music on the CD is sometimes deceptively minimal. But within that subtle structure lies a powerful continuity of focus, composition, and clarity. The music feels thought out yet spontaneous. This is what keeps your attention and allows your mind to switch off and just let itself sit back and experience.
I would recommend this to anyone who is cynical about the current state of hip-hop, or pop culture period. It is the genuine article....more info
- Album Is Dope!! If you like Black Star, you will love dead prez music also. so check that out to!!
Like I said this is that real hip hop right here and if you like this be sure to check out dead prez music as it is just as dope if no t doper. and if you in cali be sure to catch their first L.A. performance in 4 years as it will be hot!! May, 13 2006!! Straight From Chappelle's "Block Party" Dead Prez With Ras Kass, DJ Revolution Of Wake Up Show, KDAYS Icy Ice & More TBA.... 350 Pine Ave., The Vault 350...Long Beach, CA 90801....An Extremely Limited Amount Of Pre-Sale Tickets Available Now For On-Line Purchase @ www.thaformula.com & @ Your Local Record Shops...more info
- another boring cd by crap star
some people shouldnt be allowed to rap. those people are mos def and talib kweli....more info
- Black Star: Shining Brilliant Light into a Dark Hip Hop Universe
In 1999, Black Star released their only album (so far) together, entitled Mos Def and Talib Kweli are Black Star. These two talented emcees, brought along a slew of producers to design beats for their classic album. Among those names are DJ Hi-Tek (whom Kweli worked with later in Reflection Eternal), and up-and-coming 88 Keys. With this album, Talib Kweli and Mos Def proved that they are AMAZING.
Track List & Rating
1. Intro (NOT RATED)
2. Astronomy (8th Light) f/ Weldon Irvine (5 Stars)
3. Definition (5 Stars)
4. Re:Definition (5 Stars)
5. Children's Story (5 Stars)
6. Brown Skin Lady (5 Stars)
7. B Boys Will B Boys (3 1/2 Stars)
8. K.O.S. (Determination) f/ Vinia Mojica (5 Stars)
9. Hater Players f/ Apani-B-Fly-Emcee (5 Stars)
10. Yo Yeah (NOT RATED)
11. Respiration f/ Common (5 Stars)
12. Thieves In The Night (5 Stars)
13. Twice Inna Lifetime f/ Jane Doe, Punchline, Wordsworth (5 Stars)
With their unmatched lyricism, and socially conscious songs, along with their unique metaphors, flow, delivery, similes, and rhythmic patterns, these guys are no doubt about it LEGENDS! Another pretty unique feature is that these guys dont use too much profanity. Its occasional, but you dont hear the F word on every track, in fact, there are some songs where they dont even curse! So this is good for the whole family, in my opinion, so ignore the Parental Advisory Sticker. Then again, it might not be so good for kids, since they may not understand. These guys are Legends, no doubt, but some people might not agree, but i assure you i can find a few who will agree that these two emcees are living legends in hip hop, unfortunately, they arent recognized and are on the semi-underground level. However, they dont write music for teeny-boppers, they write it for us, the true Hip Hop fans...more info
- MUST HAVE
...No need to go into details. If you don't already have this album, just know that you are an idiot, and NEVER...I repeat NEVER refer to yourself as a " hip-hop head " . This is a classic !! One of the greatest killer-combos in hip-hop history. Nuff said...peace...more info
- The Once and Future Hip Hop Classic
This CD is the epitome of Hip-Hop. Everything you need is here:lyrics, production, content, etc. You will be very hard pressed to find a CD that has come out in the past 10 years that is up to this standard!...more info
- The Standard Of Hip-Hop Music
This CD should be the standard by which ALL hip-hop music should be... Nuff Said......more info
- one of the best hip hop albums of all time
i have to admit, i was sleeping on this one when it came out. i'll never get over it but here it is, 5 years later and this cd stays in heavy rotation in my cd player. this is a classic must have. mos and kweli bring it forreal. if you don't have this, stop sleeping...THIS IS A GREAT ALBUM...more info