Talib Kweli & Jay Electronica Reunite. Times Are Hard & So Are Their Rhymes (Audio)

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Less than one week ago, Talib Kweli released Radio Silence. Following April’s The Seven collaborative EP with Styles P, Kwe’ drops his first full-length solo effort in two years. This go-round features Anderson .Paak on latest video single “Traveling Light,” along with Rick Ross and Freestyle Fellowship/Project Blowed member Myka 9.

One of the more exciting guests is Jay Electronica. In the early days of his career, the New Orleans, Louisiana native MC/producer made a standout appearance on Reflection Eternal’s “Just Begun” alongside future Roc Nation label-mate J. Cole back in 2010. That song followed all the artists in the here-and-now with their respective careers.

The second collabo, “All Of Us” is far more specific. This song closely examines injustice, especially with law enforcement. The track deals with machines taking jobs, and the labels that the Rap industry uses to decry information in verses.

With Assata Shakur on the intro, “All Of Us” features timely and resonant verses from each MC. “If our struggle is a strain then the strain is dominant / My name is prominent for entertainment that’s laced with consciousness / But really its just common sense like Lonnie Lynn / You don’t need binoculars to see the light coming through the dome like it’s an oculus / The common myth that we’re savages with no history or accomplishments / Or knowledge of ourselves they did a job on us / Considering the prediction of economists / Machines will do our jobs for us / The future for the working class is ominous,” is a potent start to a verse, something Kweli has done for 20 years. Later, he spits, “Every problem can’t be solved at the ballot box / We unifying Africa like Gaddafi that’s what got Malcolm shot / They out to stop anybody with knowledge that figured out the plot / On the balcony like Martin Luther King I been to the mountaintop / The blue wall of silence, it’s really the blue wall of violence.” The Black Star MC continues to drop knowledge in technically-advanced rhyme structures.

Jay Elect’ follows. He references his first collaboration with Talib and Cole, before addressing police brutality: “I hit that Shmoney Dance on the coffin of a crooked cop / In a Worldstar society where all we do is look and watch / No intervention, policemen beating elderly women with evil intentions on the highways and the byways / The police state be sprayed into the backstreet to the driveways.” The somber verse closes with, “Sh*t was all bad just a week ago / The view was just as sad just a peep ago / The cries of the Asiatic ancient Semitic peoples that propel Jay Elec from the pedestal to the steeple.

The Radio Silence artwork is from the same painter Jerome Lagarrigue who made Reflection Eternal’s Train Of Thought in 2000.

#BonusBeat: Talib Kweli’s new music, including this song, is a focal point of the official Ambrosia For Heads playlist:

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