Talib Kweli, 9th Wonder & Nottz Enlist MK Asante & Uzi for a Banger with a Message (Video)
Bars with depth, a video with a concept, and a beat that knocks. The remix to Talib Kweli and 9th Wonder’s Indie 500 cut “Bangers” has all of that in the chamber, and then some. On the album version, the Nottz-produced track features MK Asante and Halo and is a sobering look at what is a regrettably frequent topic of conversation in today’s world, and that is the epidemic of gun violence. Fans of Kweli and 9th were likely not surprised such a topic would find its way onto the album, as both artists have frequently used their respective platforms as foundations for conversations about politics and social-justice issues. Fans may be less familiar with MK Asante, whose extensive work as both an MC and educator make him a fitting addition to the song. A native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he is the author of a memoir entitled Buck (which became a bestselling book and went on to spawn a soundtrack featuring Kweli and others) and it plays a leading role in the powerful video for “Bangers.”
Indie 500 proved to be just as much about the collaboration between Kweli and 9th as it was about providing the opportunity to showcase other, perhaps less known, artists, and that showcase shines through with a serious effect here. Although Kweli takes a step away from the mic, the song is no less exemplary of his aesthetic, and Heads are sure to appreciate the incredible words from the two comparatively fresh voices. Featuring a verse from Asante’s brother Uzi, the “Bangers” remix and its video cast a book as a weapon in literal and figurative senses. With the adage “the pen is mightier than the sword” in mind, the video is a poetic look at what happens when knowledge – rather than guns – is aimed at the heads of young people, but it’s also a serious acknowledgment of how prevalent violence on the streets can be, from fellow citizens and police. It gets no deeper, no realer, and no more Hip-Hop than this.