Artist Close-Ups · Reviews

Album Review: Talib Kweli Empowers His Voice Through “Radio Silence”

Talib Kweli prides himself with being one of the most socially conscious and, thus, relevant rappers of our time, and with good reason. Kweli has fearlessly used his Twitter to call out racists, but it is his music that calls out humanity. For Radio Silence, Kweli delves into the clashing and cohesion between freedom of speech, freedom to hate, and freedom to love.

We all have the freedom to hate and the freedom to love, but it is in Freedom of Speech where these forces clash in a playing field Kweli calls Truth! How we confront ourselves is reflective of how we confront each other because we do what we know. Thus, racists can lie to you, and call their hate Love, because they have already lied and called it by that name to themselves. On that note, Radio Silence becomes a leap in terms of Kweli’s artistic and personal growth. Often, we look inward to revive how we move outward. “Knockturnal”, “All of Us feat. Jay Electronica & Yummy Bingham”, and “Heads Up Eyes Open feat. Rick Ross & Yummy Bingham” are prime examples of Talib’s human/ universal struggle to not allow the systemic cruelty built against his community affect that, as a spirit, he can still move forward. Moreover, such songs would make Thelonious Monk applaud at seeing jazz being infused with Hip Hop so miraculously. Sonically, Radio Silence is one of his most beautiful albums, and proof a combination is only valuable if also an elevation like, in tracks “Traveling Light feat. Anderson .Paak” and “Write At Home feat. Datcha, Bilal & Robert Glasper”. Obviously, you can tell this album is NOT lacking features such as, “Radio Silence feat. Amber Coffman & Myka 9”, but they only empower and elaborate that Talib Kweli is truly using music to reflect on his heart while also give it reason to beat.

Frankly, hate never goes away, but it is making a current and alarming COMEBACK! Prejudice, discrimination, and politically backed atrocities have defined human/ U.S. history, of which certain communities like, Blacks, Latinos, the poor, Native Americans, and women, have been made to suffer. Yet, even though we are all our community, we are also ourselves. Lyrically, Talib tussles in observance over how to be an individual that rises for others, but also remembers to rise himself. You cannot be others’ strength without being your own, and Radio Silence is one of Kweli’s best, most poignant albums because you hear him ponder and absorb that truth. Thus, Radio Silence is a riveting record for those who see you have to speak up to hate not because it is your freedom of speech, but it is also your duty on behalf of your freedom to love. For Information On Talib Kweli’s Radio Silence, which comes out on November 17, Click Here.