Having just released Revolutions Per Minute last year, his first album with producer Hi-Tek as one half of Reflection Eternal since their 2000 debut Train of Thought, Brooklyn emcee Talib Kweli returns with his latest solo offering Gutter Rainbows.This album is Kweli’s first solo LP since 2007’s Eardrum. Gutter Rainbows contains production from an array of producers including North Carolina’s Khrysis, S1 of Texas Hip Hop group Strange Fruit Project as well as M-Phazes and Ski Beats.
Kweli returns and gives the fans exactly what they’ve come to expect since his debut in 1998 alongside Mos Def as one half of Black Star.
He brings the same gritty street consciousness to the table that fans have come to love him for and in the title track “Gutter Rainbows” produced by M-Phazes.
Kweli rhymes, “you say he kill his people, he say I feed my family/and you ain’t kicking in, you’ll never understand me.”
He also returns with his often criticized, but yet successful braggadocio element that he’s injected into his conscious material on tracks such as “I’m On One” Kweli rhymes “The appetite for dominance rival that of the Ottoman.
Phenomenon I’ll eat you after dark like this was Ramadan/Ain’t no patience for the wack emcee.
This ain’t World Star homie this aint VladTV” over a heavy Beastie Boys sampled track produced by Khrysis. This style also shows up on “Uh Oh” featuring fellow New York femcee and Blacksmith label mate Jean Grae.
Other features on the album include fellow Brooklyn emcee Sean Price, Kendra Price, Outasight, Blaq Toven, Chace Infinite, and RES.
The overall lyrical content is multifaceted. The Brooklyn emcee’s content ranges from the narrative to the autobiographic.
Kweli covers an array of topics, including inner city living, lamentations on personal lows, hip-hop culture, the music industry, family and community harmony (local and global).
Since his debut, Kweli has matured as an artist.
Where he was once raw and unfiltered, he’s now found a way to draw in newer fans without sacrificing long- time fans.
In another facet he is much more refined as an lyricist. His delivery is sharper. He seems more comfortable with his rhymes and makes what is very hard work seem easy. He’s grown as a songwriter and as a wordsmith with a broader vocabulary and the all important knowledge of how and when to use words.
This latest offering from Kweli is entertaining, it is informative, and it is inspiring, all of which is in truest spirit of hip-hop from its inception.
With another great album added to his repertoire, Talib Kweli further cements himself into hip- hop history as an artist for the people and a torch bearer for true hip-hop.