Talib Kweli The Beautiful Struggle

[MCA; 2004]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles:  hip-hop
Others: Mos Def, Jay-Z, Black Star, DJ Hi-Tek

It's easy to understand why Talib Kweli's newest album is called The Beautiful Struggle. One listen to the album conjures reflections of Kweli's passion and perseverance in hip-hop since his humble beginning with Black Star. Although Kewli and Mos Def of Black Star have since gone their separate ways after only one album release, they've both superceded their fans' expectations -- especially Talib Kweli. In fact, Kweli has never sounded better. Lingering between two distinct poles, The Beautiful Struggle showcases Kewli's personal and professional crossroads. Although the baby-Native Tongue vibe is still prominent on the album (rendering it soulful, jazzy, and reminiscent of the '90s), Kweli still hovers tightly on the edge of commercialism, making his album ultimately more streamlined. Without comparisons to prolific hip-hop emcees like Jay-Z, Kweli does carry a handful of potential commercial hits, like on "Lonely People," which samples the Fab Four's "Eleanor Rigby" for an instant-likeability. In the end, however, Kweli exemplifies a strong attraction to his roots, always paying homage to his Native Tongue Descent. And for that reason, The Beautiful Struggle is at the very least worth a listen.

1. The Revolution
2. Back Up Off Me
3. From A Place Ft. Killer Mike
4. I Tried Ft. Mary J Blige (Produced by Kanye West)
5. We Got the Beat (Planet Rock)
6. Around My Way
7. What We Have is Real
8. Rock on and on
9. You Don't Know Me
10. It's the Ghetto Ft.Common
11. Hold Your Hands Up High Ft. Jean Grae
12. Lonely People (Produced by Kanye West)
13. We Pullin' Out Tonite
14. Instrumental (Produced by Kanye West)
15. Get Em High Ft. Kanye West
16. Supreme Ft. Mos Def

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