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Music Break: Revisit Talib Kweli’s ‘Prisoner of Conscious’ on Soundcheck

Originally Aired: Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Brooklyn rapper Talib Kweli performs live on Soundcheck in The Greene Space

Michael Katzif / WNYC


Watch an encore video stream as we revisit one of our favorite concerts from our archives, Brooklyn-based rapper Talib Kweli performing from his fifth album, Prisoner of Conscious, for Soundcheck. The show was recorded on April 24, 2013.

Tune in to the video stream at 1pm ET:

Host John Schaefer asked Kweli about the album’s title and the term “conscious hip hop.” The title, Kweli said, doesn’t refer to his own sense of confinement, but to people’s perception of him as an artist.

“When I first started, you just did hip hop,” Kweli said at the time. “It wasn’t like, okay De La Soul, that’s conscious rap and N.W.A  is gangster rap. It was like, this is just hip hop. …People who are very passionate about music like to break music down into sub genres.”

On this album, he said he challenged himself to go more upbeat and focus on the musicality. “I can’t lose focus of my job as an entertainer by making my stuff overtly conscious,” Kweli said. “It has to sound good and feel good first.”



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