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coverpic flag US - New York / California - Full Moon 127 - 02/02/07

Talib Kweli and Madlib
Liberation
Blacksmith

What would be another post-Madvillain, indie hip hop, dream team rants to some familiar hopelessly anti-Bush devoted liberalism exhibited by Green Day, Anti-Flag and NOFX. What Kweli and pop punk, soap box hopefuls are forgetting is great political art attacks everyone, even democrats. Hunter S. Thompson turned this philosophy into a new age of journalism, Joe Strummer put it to music, Chuck D brought it to hip hop, Jon Stewart made it a hit TV show and no one with a guitar or drum machine since Bush took office seems to get it.

Some more soulful strokes of Madlib's genius struck from last year's instrumental collection The Beat Konducta make Liberation vibrant and sonically attractive. Kweli's history suggests he has the chops to match, but he chokes on obvious social theory and less than impressive meter.

When Kweli gets tired of complaining, like Billie Joe he strikes at the street culture of drug use surrounding him on "Engine Runnin'" and "Over the Counter". On American Idiot this was "soda pop and Ritalin." In the hip hop world it's something most 50 Cent types pride themselves on for street cred: dealing on the street. Interesting, but it's been done before and Biggie was better at showing regret.

Copyright © 2007 Matthew DeMello e-mail address

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