I let Talib Kweli’s new single sink in before I could write about it, so 10 replays later, I finally felt the depth of the metaphors. Each verse remains cohesive through strong whiffs of characterizing persistence. As the chorus repeats, “smash walls to get through…”, this hard knock trio of soulfully pulsating rappers knows how to do just that. They sound great together partially because of their related industry experience. Below are some relevant lines that got to me…
“Word to yo motherfxcking self /nobody else gon’ do it for ya, nobody else/every now and then someone’ll offer ya help, but they ain’t doin’ nothing ‘til they really see you tryna do something, I ain’t bluffing”
Curren$y has worked through the shine and the cloudy part (in which Kweli mentions the shine as the cloudy part later in his verse). After leaving Young Money and learning to work in the music industry independently, he utilized his unique aesthetic to prove his worth – and explains that while some people “wanted” to help in his more quiet times, they only really stepped up when he was already pushing through them.
“Ya goonery for the sake of goonery is cartoons to me”
Ever since Talib Kweli stepped in the ring he has represented what a conscious rapper sounds like, and for him to hear current rappers releasing songs with no significance for society is both amusing and embarrassing to him. He goes on with his verse to highlight his music as universal.
“Old people feel it in they bones, invade your home like I broke the glass/And let myself in, fighting for freedom like the people in Tunisia”
He alludes to the Tunisian revolution last year, where the people of Tunisia intensely campaigned, and essentially kicked out their President to live a democratic lifestyle. What he does as a career is not merely for fun, but to push hard for social justice.
“So many times I can build casinos from scratch/Too many daps you might receive from the things you achieve, relax…”
Kendrick comes from inner city LA where it’s hard to make it out successfully since you’re dealing with people who play vicious and have nothing to lose. He knows to be genuinely satisfied with his rising accomplishments that he has to maintain some modesty. Lamar goes on with his verse to express his stability and focus in the hip hop game, and hints to 2Chainz to do the same by spitting, “Got a wifey or a mistress, nigga which one you indulging?/Regardless of who you pick know life’s a bitch when you ain’t focused”
This trio collaboration, I thoroughly enjoyed, and I look forward to other feature verses on Talib Kweli’s 5th solo album, Prisoner of Conscious, including Busta Rhymes’ and RZA’s.
If you can’t wait until the album drop, look out for Kweli’s mixtape with Z Trip “Attack the Block” expected to be out before October.