For 24 years, Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star had been the only album by a great rap duo in any era. To this day, this album is still the subject of a cult following, among hip hop connoisseurs who tirelessly plow the left field. These aficionados will be delighted to learn that Mos Def, a natural rapper and a follower of Sufism who became Yasiin Bey along the way, reunited with the prolific Talib Kweli for a dozen tracks gathered under the Black Star flag. For now, the album has only been released on the Luminary platform. So Kanye West is not the only one to voluntarily make his productions less accessible, to maximize actual revenues. This is a phenomenon worth analyzing. At the heart of this new opus entitled No Fear of Time is the progressive, pro-cultural diversity and pro-black ideology. Nods to spirituality are present but not relentless. Anti-supremacist denunciations are not exaggerated; white radicalism of the extreme right is linked to mental illness. Black Thought (The Roots) and Yummy Bingham are guests on some tracks, while the great beatmaker, composer, and arranger Madlib is involved in the general design of this project, ideal for music lovers fond of boom-bap, jazz, or orchestral soul. The whole thing is excellent, solid from start to finish: instrumentations and beats made by masters of hip hop refinement, arrangements embodied to perfection. The subject, the flow, and the fluidity are served to us on a conceptual template that is rather classic–circa 1990-2000–but nevertheless fertile in creativity. What we have here is much more than comfort food.
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