Black Star

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About Black Star

Few rap duos are as revered as Black Star, the short-lived union of Mos Def (now Yasiin Bey) and Talib Kweli. The Brooklynites bridged the gap between the conscious rap of their Native Tongues predecessors and the battle-ready bars of their late ’90s peers in New York’s sprawling underground rap scene, spitting rhymes full of inventive wordplay alongside celebrations of Black culture and critical examinations of social issues over modern, jazz-rooted boom bap. Raised in neighboring Brooklyn boroughs, they sharpened their skills in competitive open mics and park cyphers before signing with underground champions Rawkus Records for 1998’s Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star. With songs like the party-rocking “Definition,” the tender ode “Brown Skin Lady,” and the brilliant reimagining of Slick Rick’s “Children’s Story,” the retro-leaning debut proved people wanted an intellectual alternative to the flashy commercial hip-hop then ruling the radio. After releasing one record, the pair parted ways for successful solo careers both in and outside of music—Yasiin Bey as an actor and Kweli as a talk show host. However, in 2022, the duo surprised fans when they announced a sophomore album, No Fear of Time, planned for release later that year.

Brooklyn, NY, United States of America

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