Black Star’s New Album Has Been Liberated

In early 2022, Black Star released their first album in nearly a quarter century. No Fear Of Time was produced entirely by Madlib and featured a guest verse from Black Thought. By the end of ’22, Yasiin Bey and Talib Kweli’s sophomore LP was one of the year’s best albums and signaled a growing paradigm shift in music. The album was only available through a podcast subscription platform, and it was not for sale. The move followed Yasiin Bey releasing albums as art installations in recent years and artists like Chance The Rapper making acclaimed, award-winning bodies of work that could be purchased.

That podcast platform, Luminary, also became home to Black Star and Dave Chappelle’s sporadic Midnight Miracle podcast, as well as Kweli’s longstanding People’s Party interview show. Chappelle, flush after Netflix successbecame a Luminary investor. This year, Talib and Madlib reconnected for Liberation 2, a sequel to the pair’s 2006 tandem. That project has also been exclusive to Luminary. On a 2022 episode of Midnight Miraclethe artist formerly known as Mos Def said, “I’m supposed to get part of a penny?” referring to payment structures at record labels and major digital streaming platforms. “Who looked at a penny and decided it could be broken up into parts, to be meted out to people essential to the f___ing labor?” Unlike Black Star’s brilliant 1998 debut, No Fear Of Time existed without a label or traditional release rollout.

The 15 Best Rap Albums Of 2022

Now, nearly 18 months after No Fear Of Time arrived, Black Star has liberated the album and made it available for streaming and digital sale at $9. While there were grumblings of possible physical copies in 2022, nothing was substantiated. Now, the LP is available at Bandcamp—a popular digital music store with vinyl, CDs, cassettes, and merchandise components. The public can now enjoy an authorized stream of No Fear Of Time or purchase it digitally.

Online, Talib Kweli defended the group’s decision to fans—who publicly expressed confusion and displeasure about the shift. In 2016, Kweli collaborator Kanye West initially released The Life Of Pablo for streaming only (vowing his album would never be for sale) before making the album available to purchase digitally and physically.

Yasiin Bey Discusses The Drama That’s Caused Him To Fall Back From The Music Business (Video)

In 2017, Chance’s Coloring Book and ‘Ye’s The Life Of Pablo both contended for “Best Rap Album” at the Grammys—with the former taking the winNo Fear Of Time did not get any Grammy consideration last year.

Upon release, Ambrosia For Heads‘ What’s The Headline podcast deemed the LP the best yet of ’22. After the year, AFH included the LP in its best-of.

Immortal Technique & Ill Bill Send A Powerful Message About Breath Control

#BonusBeat: Recent music by Westside Gunn and Black Star is currently on the official Ambrosia For Heads playlist: