While many look at the state of New York and automatically think to themselves music and the shift of rap, others look at the grand picture and take a glimpse at the actual communities that inhabit the Big Apple.
As some speak on the preservation of the craft of Hip Hop and bringing it back to its breeding grounds, some look at the city as it continues to go through rapid transformations.
Talib Kweli, a Brooklyn native, has continued to provide commentary on his city. Along with Mos Def, the duo most known as Black Star collaborated on Def’s album The Ecstatic for the track “History” with each giving their own chronicles of life in the big city.
Replacing Mos Def for the Splash Festival overseas, Kweli spoke with splash!mag on the premise of the song.
“The song is about history in general, but being that I’m from New York, you hear my personal story, you hear Mos Def’s personal story. New York is what it is, the people make up New York, not the politics. The politics is what you see as far as gentrification and everything.”
Unable to look into the future, Kweli is unaware of what is in store for NY, but as the title of song, history has a way of repeating itself as everything in life goes through a revolving door.
“I can’t predict the future of this city, but I know that things have cycles so whatever we see now for the next 20, 30 years, 20 to 30 years from now it will change. So if you have rich white people living in a neighborhood, 30 years from now, in New York City, it will be a different type of neighborhood and then it will switch back. It’s just the nature of the beast of New York City.”
“Every city goes through cycles and New York is in a cycle right now where the tourism and bring the people and the dollars in is important to the government so that’s what you see. You see the cleaning up.”
Hearing the two together once again would obviously create countless in regards to Black Star and making a return.
“When you do something positive and give it to the world, I would be arrogant to be annoyed if people kept asking me the question. So people ask that question a lot, but it’s just a good feeling, it’s not anything that annoys me.”
Musically, the rapper stated that he was in the process of creating his next album. Being labeled as a conscious rapper, he uses it as influence for the title Prisoner of Consciousness.
A release date has yet to be scheduled for the album.