Talib Kweli & 9th Wonder’s Indie 500 Drives For A Star-Studded Win (Album Stream)

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Last year, Talib Kweli, 9th Wonder, and Pharaohe Monch announced that they were combining forces and resources to launch Indie 500, an independent label, marketing, and distribution conglomerate. Nearly a year to the date after the announcement, Indie 500 (the album) arrives. While it doesn’t release until November 6, Heads can listen in full right now:

Thirteen tracks deep, this release features other major players from Rap’s indie scene. Atmosphere’s Slug, one of the Rhymesayers Entertainment founders, appears opposite the Rawkus alums Kweli and Monch. One of RSE’s flagships, Brother Ali, is also involved. Bad Lucc and Problem, two 10-year West Coast veterans, join the party. Like Kweli, Monch, an 9th, Planet Asia is a former major label artist who gets down too. Rapsody, Add-2, NIKO IS, and K’Valentine are deeply present, artists signed and developed by 9th and Kweli.

Although the circumstances and DIY approach may bring these MCs, producers, and singers together, they have plenty more to say in the moment. Single “Which Side Are You On” challenges fence-sitters in the ongoing issues of social justice, law enforcement brutality, and racial profiling. “Understand” is a grabbing lyrical display between Talib, Ali, and P.A., on an evocative piano track. Oh, and the Reflection Eternal MC gets his Ghostface Killah “Mighty Healthy” rendition on. “Don’t Be Afraid” is an extremely charged call to courage by Rapsody, Bad Lucc, Talib Kweli, and Problem—that urges folks to step up, whether for love or for justice.

Can Indie 500 run some laps around the old guard?

This is premiered at The Fader.

Related: As Law Enforcer Violence Against Black Citizens Escalates, Talib Kweli Asks Which Side Are You On? (Video)