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Black Star, Fix Up

 

 

Hip-hop was as a revolution.

The full-force genre originally had humble beginnings as it was born the love child of Jazz poetry and 1970’s underground DJ culture. Rapping was an art form–a catalyst for young minds to project art in their own personal fashion. There was no need for sonnets or fancy prose as the “stanzas” of the streets came in the form of free-style, and just like an improvisational solo–rap was off the cuff and from the soul.

However as time progressed, so did raps lyrical content. We saw rhymes written about societal acceptance fade into raps written about material possessions. Granted, there is nothing wrong with this–one could argue that this just shows how culture has shifted in the three decades that rap has been around.

Though, I’d like to point out some of the revolutionaries who were pivotal in raps evolution. I’d like to discuss two artists that brought back that poetic flair to their music–Mos Def and Talib Kweli, better known as Black Star.

Mos Def, now known as Yasiin Bey and Talib Kweli arrived on the scene in 1997–on the heels of the deaths of both Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls. Their claim to fame was their call to end violence in hip-hop.

I said one, two, three. It’s kinda dangerous to be an M.C. They shot Tupac and Biggie. Too much violence in hip-hop.

Though, they weren’t calling for peace in the hippie flower child kind of way–they were making a statement through their work.

You see, these two gentlemen truly personified original roots hip-hop.

Their work has always had a flair of poetic nature–it’s safe to say that Black Star brought back into popularity poetic based rap where the lyrical content was deep, edgy and thought provoking. Largely due to Mos Def (Yasiin Bey), slam poetry also made a revival around this time period, and many artists reconnected with their poetic roots and brought it back to their work. Mos Def would later go on to host Def Jam Poetry on HBO for a number of years. Black Star put out some amazing stuff throughout the 90’s and the early 00’s that is considered classic today–they genuinely are the cream of the crop in terms of underground roots based hip-hop.

Around the late 90’s the duo started putting out solo material more than group material and each had huge success on their own through film, tv as well as music. It’s safe to say that both Mos Def and Kweli are widely respected in the hip-hop community.

All of this being said, I am really excited for their new album to drop in 2012! The duo appeared on the Colbert Report in October to play their new track, “Fix Up”. It serves more as an introduction than your average “banger” that you’d hear, however the song serves as a great appetizer to their 2012 reunion album.

Check it out and keep your ears open for their new releases.

 

Black Star “Fix Up”

 

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