Scheduled release date: August 21
BY BEN WESTHOFF
“Conscious rap” needs to be eliminated from hip-hop’s vernacular, or, at the very least, Talib Kweli’s name should be stricken from its rolls. Nobody’s quite sure what the term means: Music that doesn’t focus on rims and butts? Songs in which the listener’s life isn’t explicitly threatened? Kweli has said he doesn’t like being pigeonholed by the term, and the release of Eardrum, his sixth solo album, seems an appropriate time to let him go.
Ear Drum is a heaping mess, neither smart nor groundbreaking, filled with 2.5 cliches per verse.
It’s been a long journey, but they say that life’s path is not about the destination, it’s all about the journey, he informs us at the beginning of “NY Weather Report.” We then learn that if you can make it in New York City, you can make it anywhere.
“More Or Less” catalogs how he feels about a number of mundane issues. More building, less destroying, he states, adding that more marijuana less coke, more freestyles less written, more history less mystery, more Beyonce less Britney, and more happiness less misery would be neat as well. The song’s blase ruminations correlate to a January post on his MySpace blog in which he called the Black Eyed Peas’ Will.i.am a “living embodiment” of Martin Luther King’s dream.
Eardrum does boast top-notch production, however, and Kweli’s adroit flow almost makes up for his crap lyrics. So abandon the shrill platitudes, buddy. They’re about as effective as an abstinence campaign.