You could argue that Talib Kweli creates his best work with his 'Natti partner Hi-Tek. 2000's Train of Thought and 2010's Revolutions Per Minute would definitely lend credibility to your argument. You could also make the argument that Kweli has made magic with outsiders like will.i.am and Kanye West. You'll have no trouble finding songs to support your position, from "Get By" to "Hot Thing." It appears that Kweli is incapable of making bad music regardless of the sonic styling. Gutter Rainbows, which features various underground beatsmiths, puts this theory to test.
Despite the bevy of little known names on board, Gutter Rainbows sounds eerily familiar. That's a testament to Kweli's ability to plot the path to his own narrative. Yes, he's still pounding his chest ("Palookas"). Yes, he's still fighting ignorance ("Self Savior"). And yes, he's still trying to make semi-pop tunes for those who approach the radio with trepidation ("Mr. International").
The production on Gutter Rainbows is a mixed bag. A gang of b-list producers take turns doing their best Hi-Tek impression. It's the Ski Beatz-laced "Cold Rain" that stands out from the pack. Its soulful piano loops rise and fall with the momentum of the song, as Kweli powers through with confident rhymes. Without any big beats to stanchion his lyrics, Kweli relies on his voice to do the heavy lifting. Good thing he knows a thing or two about emceeing.
His conscious rhymes may sound familiar, but you'll still appreciate the way he delivers them. His play on words is as sharp as ever. Gutter Rainbows exists to remind us that Kweli is still an elite MC, still standing. The names on the production credits may have changed, but Kweli hasn't lost his mojo.Top Tracks
- "Cold Rain"
- "Tator Tot"
- "Wait for You"