“To have Ace Hood, Maino, Mack Maine and Lil Wayne on the same mixtape as Black Thought, Jay Rock, Planet Asia and Das Racist might have been thought impossible, but it shows that the person who brought them together is truly on another level.”
Talib Kweli, the legend of underground hip-hop and the king of conscious lyrics released his mixtape “Attack The Block”, a musically irresistible entrée to his album “Prisoner of Conscious”. If this mixtape is anything to go by, the album will have to be phenomenal to surpass this offering to the music industry.
Talib Kweli embodies pure authentic bona-fide hip-hop. In “Attack The Block” he raps gripping rhymes that are lyrically dripping with brazen rawness and intelligence, in the passionate rapid-fire flow that he is known for. As hip-hop’s Plato he moves from topic-to-topic between touching on the hood’s social ills on “Attack the Block”, to politics in the anarchic anti-war track “Letter to the Government”, to the challenges and hardships that black women face in “Fly Away”.
Judging from the title of his album “Prisoner of Conscious” it seems that Talib Kweli does not want to be trapped by the “conscious rapper” stereotype. This is shown by the interesting collaborations on the mixtape, specifically Mack Maine and Lil Wayne on the track “Celebrate”. Being an influential emcee, Talib Kweli has managed to get out of Mack Maine a rare, honest and introspective verse which shows his ability to make even some of the most ratchet music-making rappers spit some realness once in a while. Other surprising collaborations include Mac Miller in the track “Earning Potential” and Ryan Leslie in the romantic ode “Outstanding”, which not only shows Talib Kweli’s versatility but his goal of trying to bridge the gap in the hip-hop game thereby pushing its progression.
He still stays faithful to his underground roots with the track “That’s Enough” featuring John Forte, Skyzoo, Posdnuous and Fashawn. By far the best track in the mixtape is “Congregation” featuring AB-Soul and Black Thought, where all three rappers bring their Sunday-best and spit fiery sermon verses as if they were delivering them from the pulpit. Kweli spits lines like “A dialectic, attract co-followings like scientologists reading the dianetics, this religion that I invented, it’s really a way of life, these thoughts of freedom that I embedded is reaching you through the speakers, these poison animal leaders is weaker than n*ggas with fever and sweeter than diabetics”.
There’s a section of the mixtape that’s skippable; tracks that were unnecessary fillers. In all honesty he could have released a 12-track excellent mixtape instead of an 18-track good one.
Overall, this mixtape is pure audio heaven where DJ Z-Trip mixes and scratches immaculately. The transitions from one song to another are perfect; it’s as if you’re listening to a live DJ set. With beautiful production from Boi1nda, 9th Wonder, and Kweli’s regular production team including Oh No and Symbolic One, the instrumentals on this mixtape are so well rounded that even on production, Kweli sticks to his theme of bridging the gap.
To have Ace Hood, Maino, Mack Maine and Lil Wayne on the same mixtape as Black Thought, Jay Rock, Planet Asia and Das Racist might have been thought impossible, but it shows that the person who brought them together is truly on another level. This has garnered Kweli the respect due to him from every type of rapper, making this diverse mixtape something that anyone who appreciates a quality product can enjoy
Written by Nomusa Mthethwa (@NomusaMT)