Talib Kweli, Pharoahe Monch & Last Emperor Freestyle In A Found 2001 Moment (Audio)
In 2001, things were taking off for Talib Kweli and Pharoahe Monch. As part of the Rawkus Records movement, these 1990s alums were paving the way for solo careers following extensive group success with the likes of Organized Konfusion, Black Star, and Reflection Eternal. Presumably doing the Hip Hop For Respect campaign, the two MCs with hit songs were in London, England as guests on Tim Westwood’s radio show.
Moreover, the pair had West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania MC The Last Emperor along. Last Emp’ had worked on Rawkus singles and compilations, following a stint at Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment. The Underground lyricist was carving his own lane, and running with two of the brightest figures in the strong movement.
On Westwood’s show, they all tackle Erick Sermon hit instrumental, “Music.” The pop-minded track and the fiery lyrics and dazzling flow from each MC works, as newly shared by Tim. Moreover, after Last Emp’ finishes, Talib comes back on the mic for an off-the-top bonus verse. The excitement of the culture can be felt in this digitized nugget. Tim maintains that despite the overseas appearances, this is the only freestyle ever recorded of the trio together.
It’s cool that 15 years later, Talib and Pharoahe are still rolling super tight, as part of the Indie 500 movement. On the other hand, it’s depressing that the issues that these MCs were standing up for in 2001 have not changed entirely enough by the last days of 2015.