Talib Kweli’s 10 Favorite Albums Are An Eternal Reflection Of Great Music
Last month, Raekwon raised some eyebrows and even more discussion when he listed his Top 10 albums. While his own acclaimed purple tape and Ghostface Killah’s Supreme Clientele were on the list, Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) missed the cut. That prompted some discourse from fans, surrounding the classic LP upon which Rae’ made his debut appearance.
Another deeply respected New York City MC, Talib Kweli, has followed with his own list. The founding member of Black Star and Reflection Eternal (who has a collaborative EP with Styles P on April 14) wrote down his Top 10 albums and shared them on Instagram. The Brooklyn, New Yorker opened the floor to all genres, perhaps as a clear reminder of how Jazz, Spoken Word, Reggae, R&B, and Hip-Hop are all intertwined. Interestingly, the veteran MC maintains ties to many of the artists he chose, across styles of music.
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While the list is numbered, Kwe’ did not confirm if his list was ranked:
1. John Coltrane – A Love Supreme
2. Nas – Illmatic
3. A Tribe Called Quest – Midnight Marauders
4. De La Soul – De La Soul Is Dead
5. Gil Scott-Heron – Winter In America
6. Bob Marley – Legend
7. Aretha Franklin – Live At The Fillmore West
8. Jungle Brothers – Done By The Forces Of Nature
9. Jay Z – Reasonable Doubt
10. Erykah Badu – Mama’s Gun
As a reminder that these lists are subjective and incredibly personal, the Javotti Media co-founder told followers, “Don’t @ me” should they have something to say in response, or want to throw their own lists his way.
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Talib has worked with many of those listed in his 10. With Black Star a disciple of the Native Tongues collective, Kweli worked with De La Soul and Tribe, including an appearance on the #1 We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service album last year. During Dave Chappelle’s mid-2000s Brooklyn block party, Reflection Eternal performed “The Blast” with Erykah Badu, as released on the live event’s album. Early in Kwe’s solo career, Jay Z connected with his Brooklyn neighbor on the “Get By (Remix),” along with Yasiin Bey (tka Mos Def), Busta Rhymes, and Kanye West.
One of the early, independent singles of Talib Kweli’s career, Asheru & Blue Black’s “Moodswing” featured a lush John Coltrane and Duke Ellington sample. The MC has been an advocate of Gil Scott-Heron’s, making reference to his Spoken Word and music, as well as his involvement in 2015’s The Revolution Will Live! event. Aretha Franklin’s music reportedly prompted Talib and Yasiin to briefly plan a thematic mixtape in 2011, yielding songs such as “Fix Up” and “You Already Knew.” Furthermore, with reference to the 1984 compilation, Talib has sampled Bob Marley’s music in several places during his career, including 2007’s “The Perfect Beat.”
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Both Raekwon and Talib Kweli have Illmatic on their lists. In 2016, Ambrosia For Heads readers voted Nas’ 1994 debut as the Greatest Album Of All Time.
Talib Kweli & Styles P’s EP The Seven is scheduled to release this Friday, April 14. This list is part of Talib’s Experience Vinyl participation. Each month, EV members will receive a selection of the featured artist curator’s essential “Desert Island” albums. Accompanying the records are be a personal description written by Talib about why the record is so important. Members may also receive additional benefits (contests, access) beyond the curated selections.