Talib Kweli & Rick Ross Are An Unexpected But Lethal Combination (Audio)

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When it comes to unlikely pairings in Hip-Hop, there are likely few more unanticipated that a collaboration between Talib Kweli and Rick Ross. For nearly his entire career, Kweli has been closely associated with “Conscious Rap,” due to his thought-provoking rhymes about politics, race relations and other substantive matters. By contrast, Rick Ross has been equally steadfast about rapping about the drug game, hustling and other more worldly items. On a new MMG mixtape, however, the two join forces on a potent song that allows each MC to remain true to his voice.

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Priorities 5 is the latest installment in a series of MMG mixtapes. At 22 songs, the project is stacked, containing songs from MMG’s Ross, Meek Mill, Wale, Stalley and others, as well as guest verses from Big K.R.I.T., Juicy J, Too Short, Kweli and more. As expected from so many offerings, there is a diversity of sound on the mixtape, from Trap to Soul. The remix to “Chemtrails & Muslim Wars,” however, is particularly noteworthy.

The track actually belongs to Isa Muhammad, the newest member of MMG. Muhammad made news earlier in the year as he rapped for Ross, while homeless, impressing him enough to command a deal. His talent is on full display on this song, as he nearly runs away with it with his opening verse.

After Muhammad’s rugged performance, Ross’ verse taps into themes he’s often explored over the years, particularly of late. He raps about the trappings of keeping ties to the streets despite his success. Kweli touches on police violence and politics in a typically passionate verse.

Though the pairing of Ross and Kweli is unexpected, each has shown a diversity of pairings in the past. Kweli has rapped with artists like DJ Quik and Curren$y, while Ross has collabos with everyone from Erykah Badu to Birdman. In any case, this combo works for all involved.