While Talib Kweli is definitely influenced by his community, his fellow artists, the place where he lives and creates, when it comes to the pure process of creation this can only be done by one.
Eardrum comes to us at a time when everything is being questioned in order to make a shift in our dynamic. Kweli isn’t necessarily saying anything that we may not already know; hitting on our culture’s disregard and poisoning of our future generations on, “Eat to Live” or the hypocrisy within the bouts between religions on “Electrify,” but reminds us through song that we can’t continue to ignore the reality of the world around us.
Kweli, who has always put his spirituality at the forefront, does so again but without preaching, inspiring change with “Hostile Gospel” about the violence between men, either on stage, on the streets or in the White House, and how commercialism and the culture of fake is destroying humanity. It’s a compelling track, filled with delicate piano, strings, and a choir that sings to the heavens.
With a back and forth soprano R&B vocal, “Give ‘Em Hell” pushes good over evil, “More love less hate / More real less fake,” then Kweli collabs with Justin Timberlake on “Nature,” which asks people to “Get back to what really matters / You gotta search our soul to find out what we’re after.”
Rappers are known for throwing down their strong opinions about each other, and this comes through on “Holy Moly,” a welcomed finger pointing about the soulless music that permeates the charts and iPods across the land, where ridiculous music videos about dating the same girl play out more like a comedy than actual entertainment. At the same time, he throws the opinions he’s heard about what he should do from others with his music on “Stay Around” and kicks in a surprise with an interlude that shifts of gears gets down in the Latin fueled “Space Fruit,” glittered with Cuban spiced bongos.
So while the “Nature of the world today…” can be bleak at times, Eardrum is beating and ready to rally the good troops. To quote another, the truth, when you actually hear it, will set free.