August 13, 2022

Time is loopy, proper? It’s the one factor we by no means have sufficient of and, generally, can’t wait to have within the rearview mirror. Time is on the thoughts of Black Star, the duo who stunned hip-hop 24 years in the past with a debut album nonetheless spoken about in hushed tones right now. Talib Kweli and Yasiin Bey (f.okay.a. Mos Def) capitalized on that success with their very own solo careers. Nonetheless, followers saved asking — generally incessantly — the place’s the following Black Star album?

After 20 years, the day lastly arrived because the Brooklyn group launched their sophomore album, No Concern of Time (presently solely accessible on Luminary). Whereas mere mortals may quake of their boots merely eager about the prospect of releasing a brand new document so a few years after a landmark debut and discovering a strategy to match these lofty expectations, Kweli and Bey are unencumbered by such issues. The album’s title isn’t only a lifestyle for the group, however a thesis for the album and their careers. As any faculty philosophy pupil will fortunately let you know, time is just a assemble.

Bey and Kweli present age is absolutely only a quantity inside that framework. Their abilities in 2022 are even sharper than in 1998 — particularly Kweli — they usually’re extra snug of their collective pores and skin. No Concern of Time isn’t attempting to recreate ’98 or imitate the sound that made Rawkus Data an underground hip-hop haven; this album succeeds as a result of it exhibits us the place Black Star is right now. It simply so occurs that the issues they rapped about all these years in the past — revolution, equality, spirituality, unity, racism, and Black excellence — are much more related right now.

Any Black Star album is a tutorial within the artwork of rapping. The duo merge their voices completely with every of Madlib’s 9 beats. Bey experiments with the move on “o.G,” doing his finest to remind everybody the sport is lots higher when he’s round. His sing-song move is perfected, and his verses are akin to Negro Spirituals. Bey always mines methods to get nearer to God whereas being a respiratory human on this airplane of existence.

Alternatively, Kweli is true within the pocket all through the album. On Black Star’s first LP and early in his profession as a solo artist, Kweli’s pocket presence was inconsistent — and that’s placing it mildly. On No Concern of Time, he’s pitch-perfect. Each phrase hits, each punchline is intelligent (“Most rappers are a joke/ It’s all arrange and punchlines”), and he appears like a person comfy in a recliner. Bey, at this level in his profession, is much less involved with wit than he’s making extra outstanding factors about his views on the place Black individuals are at this second. Kweli balances that, talking his personal reality and uplifting his individuals in his personal approach, however nonetheless very a lot involved with getting standing ovations for utilizing poetic units: “Measure affect by the lives affected/ Writing information, getting excessive for breakfast/ I crash by lunch, however I’ll survive the wreckage/ By supper time, I used to be aligned ’trigger I acquired the message/ Heeded a lesson ’trigger I wanted a blessing.”

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