Thursday, May 9, 2013

A review of Talib Kweli's "Prisoner of Conscious"

After a slew of delays dating back to late 2012, Talib Kweli finally released his 5th studio album, "Prisoner of Conscious", on May 7, 2013. While he's always been a very clever, talented artist, it'll be interesting to see how this measures up, if you will, to his previous four albums.

1. Intro

2. Human Mic (Produced By: Oh No)
I love how the intro goes right into this tight song, as Kweli spits nicely over a bangin Oh No track. It's brief, but it starts things off right. 4 out of 5

3. Turnt Up (Produced By: Trend)
"I love music, I'm complete in my devotion". Well said by Kweli, and I cosign to the fullest. I really like how Trend sample Eric B. & Rakim's classic "Paid In Full" and made it into an updated version just for Kweli. Nice and smooth here. 4 out of 5

4. Come Here (featuring Miguel, Produced by Sean C & LV)
You had to know Kweli would come with something for the ladies, hence the nice feature from Miguel, who has been on a roll lately in the R&B circles. Hard to complain about this one. 4 out of 5

5. High Life (featuring Rubix & Bajah, Produced by Oh No)
I really like the horns mixed in with the vibin styled track courtesy of Oh No. The high life indeed, and they're not talking about smoking! 4 out of 5

6. Ready Set Go (featuring Melanie Fiona, produced by Saadiq Bolden)
This is a very good collaboration with the lovely and talented Melanie Fiona, good vibes all around. 4 out of 5

7. Hold It Now (Produced By: Oh No)
Although it's on the brief side, Kweli brings it over another good track by Oh No. 3.5 out of 5

8. Push Thru (featuring Kendrick Lamar, Curren$y, & Glen Reynolds, produced by S1)
This is a tight, soulful collaboration. Kweli and CurrenSy deliver good verses, but Mr. Kendrick Lamar completely kills things when he steps to the mic. Sorry Kweli and Curren$y, lol! 4 out of 5

9. Hampster Wheel (Produced By: Oh No & G Koop)
Kweli brilliantly talks about (women's) life's situations from the perspective of things evolving "round and round". Something to think about, as well as listen closely to. 4 out of 5

10. Delicate Flowers (Produced By: St. Caleb McCampbell)
Kweli gives us another one for the ladies, however, this time around he's showing much love to his woman in a musical form. On all levels, I certainly cannot argue with that. 4 out of 5

11. Rocket Ships (featuring Busta Rhymes, Produced By The RZA)
This was the first song I heard prior to the album's release. Kweli sounds SO comfortable for his first time ever on a RZA track, while Busta continues to make me wonder why he ever signed with YMCMB (his verse is so good). Pure dopeness. 4.5 out of 5

12. Before He Walked (featuring Nelly & Abby Dobson, Produced By E. Jones)
I've never been a big Nelly fan, but honestly, although I could've done without his verse on this song, it doesn't take away from it at all, which is a complete surprise. Kweli is Kweli here, while Ms. Dobson provides a nicely sung hook. 4 out of 5

13. Upper Echelon (Produced By: Harry Fraud)
Another updated spin on a classic, this time in the form of Masta Ace's "Born To Roll". It's good overall, but compared to "Turnt Up", it's a SMALL step down. 3.5 out of 5

14. Favela Love (featuring Seu Jorge, Produced By Terrace Martin)
This was a little on the lengthy side, clocking in at 6:19. It's good, but with at least 3 1/2 minutes shaved off, it could've been better. 3 out of 5
15. It Only Gets Better (featuring Marsha Ambrosius, Produced By J. Cole)
You read that right, this was produced by J. Cole, the artist. Kweli and Ms. Ambrosius flow well over J. Cole's track, and you know it's apply titled. A fine closer. 4.5 out of 5

This is an excellent album by Talib Kweli, as the delays seemed to have made it worth the wait. It's not a perfect album, but it almost comes close to being one, and I'll say this is his best album since 2007's "Eardrum". Strong recommendation for this 4.5 star album and many thanks to Kweli and everyone who had a hand in this album.


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