not a member? click here to sign up

Ear Drum

Kweli's collaborative work has set the bar so high that his solo efforts routinely fail to meet these exalted expectations.

Rating: 6 ½ / 10

Mark Keane, 01 Oct 2007



Talib Kweli has always been an MC to admire rather than love. A conscientious, considered rapper, his collaborative work – the amazing Blackstar album with Mos Def, and the Reflection Eternal project with producer Hi-Tek – has set the bar so high that his solo efforts routinely fail to meet these exalted expectations. Ear Drum, his third album, released on his own Blacksmith label, gives him another chance to redress this imbalance.

Sadly, the same failings re-emerge. Kweli is missing that X-Factor, the sparkle that would nudge him from good to great. He is a remarkably solid performer – there is barely a misstep on the record – but whether it’s the phalanx of producers employed or the album’s glaring length (80 minutes!), you emerge with no clear idea of Kweli’s true identity. He is a hip-hop chameleon – able to blend in seamlessly, but unable to stand out.

Which is a shame, as there are plenty of moments on the album where he hits paydirt, reminding you of his obvious talents. His tight, faultless flow is at its best on ‘Country Cousins’, ‘Eat To Live’ and ‘Soon The New Day’. Kweli’s skills are malleable, wrapping themselves seamlessly around a smorgasbord of beats and grooves. However, it’s telling that Kanye West’s cameo on ‘In The Mood’ sees the uber-producer snatch the initiative from Kweli a little too easily. A lot to admire then, but not enough to love.


Rating: 6 ½ / 10
Artist Related Content

Latest Related Articles For This Artist

Talib Kweli Live at Tripod

He’s having a good time. We’re having a good time. Job done.


REVIEW: 12 Feb 2010

Talib Kweli comes to Tripod

The underground hip-hop visionary will play the Dublin venue on Saturday 30thJanuary.


News: 13 Jan 2010

best of ireland

Contact Us

Hot Press,
13 Trinity Street,
Dublin 2.
Rep. Of Ireland
Tel: +353 (1) 241 1500

Email:info@hotpress.ie

Click here for more contact information.

Click here to find out more about Hot Press

Hot Press always welcomes feed back so if you've got something to tell us click here.

Advertise With Us

For more detail on how to advertise with Hot Press click here or call us on +353 (1) 241 1540