the Brooklyn MC is largely responsible for bringing intellectualism and afro-centricsm to the underground hip-hop scene and is an independent rap music pioneer.
Talib Kweli was born in Brooklyn, New York to a well-to-do family of academics. His mother is an English professor at City University New York (CUNY) and his father works in administration at Adelphi University, while his younger brother is a law professor at Columbia. Talib's name, means "student" and "seeker" in Arabic and he himself was an avid student who attended New York's prestigious Brooklyn Technical High School and he studied theater at NYU.
Kweli started rapping in the underground scene in 1995 and began recording underground tracks with DJ Hi-Tek in 1997. In the following year he hooked up with Mos Def to form the rap-duo "Black Star". The duo made some noise with their one and only album to date, "Mos Def and Talib Kweli Are Black Star". The album was released in 1998 and featured the hit rap single, "Definition", which reached #3 on the Rap charts. The album was critically praised for bringing back social issues and politics back into the genre, during a time when hardcore rap reigned supreme. Kweli then released a collabo with Hi-Tek entitled "Reflection Eternal" which tackled and addressed issues within the African American community. The album was well-received and charted in the top 20 of the Billboard 200.
By 2002, Talib Kweli was newly solo and set out to take mainstream rap by storm with his socially conscientious rhymes. He released "Quality", in 2002 which featured production by DJ Quick and Kanye West and charted at #21 on the Billboard 200 charts with the lead-off West produced single "Get By". Talib Kweli concert dates were booked on the second stage at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in 2003. Kweli followed up with collaborations with some of hip-hop's biggest stars including a guest rap on Kanye West's debut album. Talib Kweli tour dates and performances were booked on the popular "Chapelle's Show" as well as the opening slot on the Beastie Boys' "Challah At Your Boy World Tour".
In 2004, Kweli released his sophomore set, "The Beautiful Struggle", which hit #14 on the Billboard 200. The album featured production again from Kanye West as well as from the Neptunes. In 2005, Kweli founded his own label, Blacksmith Records, and secured a major label distribution deal with Warner Bros. Records. After releasing a mixture in 2005, Kweli returned in 2007 with his highest charting album to date, "Eardrum", which hit #2 on the Billboard 200 in its first week of release. Talib Kweli tour dates were scheduled on a national Australian tour in October, 2007 to promote the album. In 2010, Kweli re-teamed with Hi-Tek to release a second album, "Revolutions Per Minute" which was hailed by critics and fans alike.
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