NORTH ADAMS -- Talib Kweli is not just the founding father of conscious rap; he is an artistic tour de force and shining light in hip-hop. On Saturday, Oct. 19, at 8 p.m. Kweli burns bright in Mass MoCA’s venerable Hunter Center.
In 1998, Brooklyn-based rapper Kweli blasted onto the public consciousness as one half of rap duo Black Star. The group released only one album - "Mos Def and Talib Kweli Are Black Star" - before parting ways. Yet the deft, socially aware, and politically on-point lyrics laid down in that singular album catapulted Kweli and Def to the forefront of the late ‘90s renaissance of conscious, Afro-centric hip-hop.
Kweli and his music shot onto the mainstream charts with the 2002 release of his first solo album, "Quality," and the single "Get By" - produced by Kanye West. Since then Kweli has released numerous critically acclaimed solo and collaborative projects, each pushing Kweli’s sonic and creative boundaries, culminating in his latest release, Prisoner of Conscious AKA P.O.C.
"My music has been associated with ... positivity, spirituality, intelligence and being thought-provoking," says Kweli of past projects. "I think sometimes people get caught up in that part of me as an artist and don’t necessarily understand the musicality or fully appreciate the music and the entertainment value behind what I do."
Kweli says of "P.
Opening for Kweli will be hip-hop trio Rebel Diaz. The bilingual crew, fronted by MCs Rodstarz and MC/Producer G1, and backed by Producer/DJ Illanoiz Rebel, debuted in 2006 in front of a half-million people at a New York City immigrants’ rights march. With influences ranging from Dirty South bounce to South American folk, Rebel Diaz combines classic boom-bap tradition with hip-hop’s global impact. Rebel Diaz has shared the stage with the likes of Common, Mos Def and Public Enemy, as well as Rage Against the Machine and Calle 13.
A full bar, plus dinner and snacks from Lickety Split, are available before and during the show. Tickets are $22 in advance, $25 day-of, and $18 for student tickets. Members receive a 10-percent discount. Tickets are available through the Mass MoCA Box Office, located on Marshall Street, from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. (closed Tuesdays). Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413-662-2111 ext. 1 during Box Office hours or purchased online at massmoca.org.