Monday, November 3, 2008

Black Star - Black Star

Earlier today my friend Joel and I were discussing our favorite hip-hop records of all time and we each came up with a list of five. Whenever I make lists like that I always have to revise because I inevitably leave something out. In this case, I left out one of the rap records that affected me the most - the self-titled debut by Black Star.

Black Star was/is a collaboration between Mos Def and Talib Kweli and marked the first proper release for both MC's. Since it's release, both parties have gone onto successful solo careers and Mos Def has been doing some acting. However, I think these dudes are at their best when working with each other. The rhymes and word play between the two is incredible and it seems as though they kept each other in check quite well. Alone, they each tend to tread into questionable territory, but Black Star is succinct at only 13 tracks in under 50 minutes with minimal skits and throwaway tracks. They also rework Slick Rick's classic "Children's Story" and give a nod to BDP on "Definition."

This album will forever remind me of being 18 and working at 6am at a fitness center. I'd leave for work in the freezing cold when it was still dark and I'd get all the way to work before my car warmed up. I listened to this record every morning and during breaks when I'd smoke cigarettes in my car. When I got fired from that job for a totally ridiculous reason, I didn't listen to it for at least a year because I'd always think of getting fired and it would enrage me. Now, I still love it just as much as the winter I bought it.

Black Star - Black Star

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