Black Star Show Why One Of Their Defining Messages Remains Timeless (Video)
Black Star represented a needed voice in the late 1990s when Yasiin Bey (fka Mos Def) and Talib Kweli first emerged under the group name. Their “Definition” single and its next track reprise, “RE:DEFinition,” spoke out against violence in Hip-Hop at a time when the community was mourning the losses of Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur. The song, which names those two legends, was also broadly dedicated to other members of the culture that had fallen to violence. This cut interpolates the words of KRS-One from a decade earlier in the hook, but more importantly, the verses echo his Stop The Violence campaign.
Twenty years later, we are still subject to deadly violence in the culture, genre, and music industry. It seems Yasiin and Talib’s classic track is once again profoundly relevant. So, when they performed the ode at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado last night (July 31), there was an electricity in the air. The Black Star duo was clearly in the zone, kicking their high-speed vocal trade-off raps with ease. They seemed to be spitting the beloved lyrics with even more zeal than as first recorded. Ambrosia For Heads captured the fantastic performance for all to enjoy:
During the set, Bey held a red and blue bandana—tied together. It is another representation of unity, peace, and working together for more significant objectives in the street community. The MC formerly known as Mos Def also spreads rose petals around the stage in another symbolic gesture. The pair takes the Hi-Tek-produced “Definition” seamlessly into its follow-up.
This performance is the latest in a packed summer for Black Star. At the top of the year, Yasiin announced the group has a second album coming, including some work with Madlib. Both Talib and Bey have worked with the former Lootpack MC/producer/DJ on their solo works.
#BonusBeat: Another clip from the duo’s incredible outdoor performance last night: