On Reflection Eternalâ€™s 2000 album â€œTrain of Thought,â€ Talib Kweli challenged fans, and himself, to â€œdo what comes naturally.â€ After years of recording on mainstream labels, he now has the chance to produce exactly what he wantsâ€”and feels he needsâ€”to produce: an album straight from his mouth to the ears of his fans. Invoking the true meaning of MC, Master of Ceremonies, Kweli brings incredible power to his live shows and feeds off the spontaneous energy of his audiences. Being able to interact directly with his audience and the musicians he most respects, he has created an album and a sound that best reproduces that ceremony for his fans. Finally, after serious urgency in the studio, Kweli presents â€˜Gutter Rainbows,â€™ an album that takes a trip back to childhood while marking the newest stage in his long and dynamic career. This newest release, recorded on his time and with his talent as the driving force, proves Kweli is a complete and formidable musicianâ€”it presents the depth and breadth of his experience and ability, and sets a new bar for the cutting edge of hip-hop music.
Through Kweliâ€™s various collaborations, he has been able to grow as an artist and expand his fan base. For over 15 years, Kweli has been a king of New York hip-hop who has an expansive international audience. Kweliâ€™s work with Mos Def on â€œBlack Starâ€ (1998) still stands as one of hip-hopâ€™s premiere expressions of truth. On â€œTrain of Thought,â€ Kweli teamed up with Hi Tek to form Reflection Eternal, a virtuoso hip-hop duo that continues to wow audiences and critics alike. In 2007, Kweli and DJ/Producer/MC Madlib gave their fans â€œLiberationâ€â€”originally released free on the internetâ€”an album that was filled with their joint love of the music they make and the respect their fans give them. Performing all over the world with unique style and an unequaled dedication to his music, Kweli has worked with artists as diverse as Kanye West, Justin Timberlake, MF Doom, Mary J. Blige, Fabolous, Common, Nelly, The Roots, Quincy Jones, Gucci Mane, Norah Jones, KRS-One and many more. With a career filled with success and innovation, it comes as no surprise that both Jay-Z and 50 Cent, at the height of their stardom, both counted Kweli among their favorite rappers. On his â€œsoloâ€ albums, there is no question that his lyrical talent and unique musical drive rank up there with the best in the business. Recording with other world famous musicians or alone on the mic, Kweli gives both the long-time fan and the uninitiated an unforgettable experience.
â€œGutter Rainbowsâ€ was recorded with the help of incredibly talented musicians from across the country. Eric Krasno, Jean Grae, Strong Arm Steady, Iron Solomon, Outasight, Kendra Ross, Sean Price, 88-Keys, Marco Polo, Ski Beatz, M-Phazes, S-1, E. Jones, Oh No and others make appearances. With this record, Kweli is able to make the music he knows and loves, play with the best musicians around, and bring it straight to his fans.
As a boy growing up in Brooklyn, Kweli saw gutters that ran with dirt, oil and water, revealing a shimmering rainbow to his childâ€™s eyes. Drawing its title from this memory, this album puts at the raw center what his music has been doing for years: finding and preserving the beautiful in the hideous; the rainbows in the gutter. Weaving the lyrical and the gritty, the autobiographical with an honest, no-holds- barred hip-hop spirit; Kweli sticks fiercely to what feels true to him in creating the sound of this album. Without being tied to any particular labelâ€™s conception of what his sound should be or when his work should hit his fans, Kweli is free to build his most personal album yet in both content and motivation. Kweliâ€™s true solo career has only just begun, and although the future holds more collaboration, â€œGutter Rainbowsâ€ marks a new stage in the long and ever-evolving career of Talib Kweli.
Album Track Listing:
1.Â Â Â Â Â After The Rain (produced by 88-Keys)
2.Â Â Â Â Â Gutter Rainbows (produced by M-Phazes)
3.Â Â Â Â Â So Low (produced by Shuko)
4.Â Â Â Â Â Palookas feat. Sean PriceÂ (produced by Marco Polo)
5.Â Â Â Â Â Mr. International feat. Nigel HallÂ (produced by S1)
6.Â Â Â Â Â Iâ€™m On OneÂ (produced by KHRYSIS!)
7.Â Â Â Â Â Wait For You feat. Kendra RossÂ (produced by S1)
8.Â Â Â Â Â Ainâ€™t Waiting feat. OutasightÂ (produced by 6th sense)
9.Â Â Â Â Â Cold RainÂ (produced by Ski Beatz)
10.Â Friends & FamilyÂ (produced by E. Jones)
11.Â Tater TotÂ (produced by Nick Speed)
12.Â How You Love Me feat. Blaq TovenÂ (produced by Blaq Toven)
13.Â Uh Oh feat. Jean GraeÂ (produced by Oh No)
14.Â Self Savior feat. Chace InfiniteÂ (produced by Maurice Brown)