Talib Kweli

Talib Kweli Biography

Alongside fellow literate underground New York rappers such as Mos Def and Pharoahe Monch, Talib Kweli represented a second wave of East Coast rappers focusing their aims on inspirational themes, rather than glamour or violence. After the late '80s Native Tongue movement in New York centered primarily on De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest, few rappers stepped into the remaining void, until Kweli and his peers hooked up with Rawkus Records. Providing an intelligent alternative to mainstream New York rap in the late '90s -- Jay-Z, Nas, Puff Daddy, Mobb Deep, Wu-Tang -- Kweli's rhymes were instantly championed by underground B-boys and eventually by critics once he found himself releasing major-label albums.

Born in Brooklyn to a literate family with a proud taste for African culture, the rapper's first name, Talib, is an Arabian name meaning "The seeker or student" while his last name, Kweli, is a Ghanaian name meaning "of truth or knowledge." So with a name that literally translates to "the seeker of truth and knowledge," it's little surprise that Kweli found himself drawn to studies and eventually well-thought-out rap music such as De La Soul. After meeting DJ Hi Tek in 1994 during a trip to Cincinnati, OH, where Hi Tek was in a hip-hop group named Mood, and then after meeting Mos Def in 1995 while he was studying experimental theater at N.Y.U., Kweli soon found himself aligned with some like-minded talent.

Soon, Kweli teamed up with DJ Hi Tek to form Reflection Eternal and also teamed up with Mos Def to form Black Star. After finding success with the underground rap label Rawkus Records, on 12"s and on compilations such as Soundbombing, Lyricist Lounge, and New York State of Mind, Kweli first crossed over into the mainstream with the major-label release of the debut Black Star album in 1998. Though Mos Def quickly went on to superstar status with a solo album in the wake of Black Star's success, Kweli eventually put out his own album with [$Hi Tek}, Reflection Eternal. The album appeared in late 2000 with substantial enthusiasm within both the rap community and among critics, who championed the album's responsible tone; record buyers were responsive as well, sending Reflection Eternal to a Top 20 debut on the charts.

Jason Birchmeier, All Music Guide

Talib Kweli Bio from Discogs

Born: 3 October 1975 in New York City, New York, USA.

American rapper and hip-hop producer.

Hailing from Brooklyn, Talib Kweli is a rapper best known for his projects Black Star (with rapping partner Mos Def), and Reflection Eternal (with DJ partner Hi-Tek).

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