talib kweli 11

Talib Kweli Remembers Martin Luther King Jr. and His Impact on Hip-Hop

In honor of Martin Luther King Day, VIBE took time to chat with beloved rapper Talib Kweli about the first time he heard Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speak, hip-hop’s respect for the holiday, as well the influence Dr. King had on him.—Diane "Shabazz" Varnie


 

VIBE: Can you recall the first time you heard Dr. King speak?

Talib Kweli: The first time I remember Martin Luther King having an impact on me was in ’82. I was six or seven years old and my mother took me to D.C.—they were having a rally to create the national holiday. I know that rally couldn’t have compared to the “March on Washington” rally in ’63, but it’s still a memory from my childhood that sticks through the test of time. I remember hearing speeches from Dr. King, and especially seeing Stevie Wonder perform “Happy Birthday,” which was an incredible experience that I’ll never forget.

Do you think hip-hop still cares about remembering his legacy?

I think hip-hop culture does care. I think Dr. King’s legacy is so great that hip-hop culture is not immune to it. Hip-hop culture does not exist without Dr. King, and I think most people who listen to hip-hop recognize and understand that. I don’t know if most people employ Dr. King’s spirituality, vision and clarity into their everyday lives, but his legacy is certainly respected.

If Dr. King was still alive, do you think he would say that our race has been set back?

I think that The Boondocks did it best when they did the Return of the King episode, which is one of the greatest pieces of television I ever seen. Have you ever seen it?

Yes, and it was great.

Dr. King in that was just spot on, dead on. But you know, I don’t think… just like in Dr. King’s time, just like now, too much reasonability is put on artists because people don’t understand the job of art. It would be nice if all artists were leaders, if all artists were the Bob Marley types, but most artists are regular people with the same problems that you and me have. So that comes out in their art. The fact that their willing to express themselves, for our benefit along with their own personal catharsis, when they can be doing something worse. Would Dr. King as a Christian [be proud] when it comes to all the messages and imagery that’s used in some of the hip-hop, of course he wouldn’t. But I think he understood the need for solidary amongst people and put that ahead of his own personal and emotional preferences.

On Twitter you were talking about an upcoming project with DJ Smallz and how certain artists you would collaborate with would make people mad. How do you think Dr. King would feel about separation amongst the sub-genres in hip-hop?

I mean to be honest with you, as much as the division amongst hip-hop is a great topic for people who love hip-hop, that’s not even a priority on the scale of what we need to do be doing as people. The reason I say that is because, with all due respect, that’s something that the people really know better. The true fans of hip-hop, they don’t give a f**k. They’ll like down South music, they’ll like West coast, East coast, whatever. They like music that’s designed for the strip club, or they like music that’s designed for your headphones – as long as it’s good and the intention is pure. Clearly, from my experience in the business, I mean this year alone I’ve recorded with Quincy Jones, Jean Grae, Chrisette Michele, Gucci Mane, Nelly – twice, you know what I’m saying? Like Kanye West, Strong Arm Steady… you know, I’ve recorded with everybody from the most underground, underground artist, to the biggest, top of the food chain artist. I’ve recorded with everybody. It shows me that the artist, the people who are making the music doesn’t get caught up in that. We just make music.

Do you have any plans for Martin Luther King Day this year?

My celebration is going to come from just being with my family. I’m not really a holiday person. I do the Christmas thing with my family, but other than that, holidays is just another day for me because I try to celebrate in life.

Can fans expect any MLK inspiration on your upcoming album, Gutter Rainbows?

Dr. King… what he was talking about, was the “gutter rainbow.” When he’s talking about the mountain top—he’s talking about rising up. When he’s talking about the dream, he’s talking about that dream that exists inside of the struggle that allows you to get past the struggle. That’s what art is. I retweeted a quote that Omar Epps took from Russell Simmons where he said: “Art allows you to dream your way out of struggle.” That’s what I’ve been able to do with Gutter Rainbows and that’s what I think Dr. King’s ultimate goal was, to allow people to let their minds envision something more beautiful. That’s what the best part does, and that’s what I try to do with my music.

From the Web

More on Vibe

50 Cent offers his condolences to a deceased member of the 'Power' crew.
Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

Rest In 'Power': Crew Member For 50 Cent's Show Killed On Set

50 Cent offered his condolences to the loved ones of Pedro Jimenez, a crew member who was killed on the set of his hit STARZ show, Power, earlier this morning. (Monday, Dec. 10).

"I just learned we lost Pedro Jimenez, a member of the Power production team early this morning," wrote the media mogul in an Instagram post, which accompanied a black screen. "My prayers and condolences are with the entire Jimenez family."

According to TMZ, "Pedro Jimenez was setting up parking cones for a location shoot in Brooklyn around 4:20 AM when he was struck by a 2006 Ford Explorer. Police responded and Pedro was transported to a Brooklyn Hospital, where he was pronounced dead."

Jimenez was just 63 years old, and had reportedly worked on the series since its debut in 2014. Reports state that investigators have spoken with the 64-year-old driver of the vehicle that struck Mr. Jimenez, who is also a crew member on the show. No arrests have been made.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

I just learned we lost Pedro Jimenez, a member of the Power production team early this morning. My prayers and condolences are with the entire Jimenez family.

A post shared by 50 Cent (@50cent) on Dec 10, 2018 at 9:29am PST

READ MORE: 50 Cent Reportedly Has A ‘Power’ Prequel In The Works

Continue Reading
Nicki Minaj poses in the winner's room at the 2018 EMA's.
Getty Images

Nicki Minaj Comments On Reports That Boyfriend Is Convicted Sex Offender

According to multiple reports, Nicki Minaj’s new arm candy has a very muddy past and a controversial label attached to him.

Per TMZ, Kenneth Petty is reportedly a registered sex offender, whose rap sheet “includes convictions for manslaughter and attempted rape.”

TMZ writes that Petty, 40, “was convicted of first-degree attempted rape in April 1995.” Prosecutors state that he used a sharp object when he tried to force the young woman to have sex with him, and he served almost four years in New York state prison.

The Queen rapper confirmed the allegations, responding to a comment on Instagram stating that he was 15 and in a relationship with the reported victim. Her comments have since been turned off.

“Go awf, internet,” she wrote. “Y’all can't run my life. Y'all can't even run y'all own life. Thank you boo."

“Years after getting out of the pen, Petty was convicted of first-degree manslaughter, and served another 7 years for shooting a man. He was released in 2013,” the site continues.

Earlier this year, Minaj worked with embattled musician Tekashi 6ix9ine, who will reportedly be re-sentenced in a child sexual misconduct case. Her older brother Jelani Maraj was also found guilty of predatory sexual assault in late-2017.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Did you ever make it out of that town where nothing ever happens?... it’s no secret... that the both of us... are running out of time...🎀🎈🥳♥️

A post shared by Barbie® (@nickiminaj) on Dec 9, 2018 at 4:46pm PST

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Did you ever make it out of that town where nothing ever happens?... it’s no secret... that the both of us... are running out of time...🎀🎈🥳♥️

A post shared by Barbie® (@nickiminaj) on Dec 9, 2018 at 4:46pm PST

READ MORE: Nicki Minaj Sends Prayers To Tekashi 6ix9ine

Continue Reading
Meek Mill garnered his first top 10 hit this week.
Getty Images

Meek Mill's "Going Bad" Earns Him His First Billboard Top 10 Song

Meek Mill just scored his first top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart. His track “Going Bad” featuring former nemesis Drake, which can be found on the Philly native’s recent album Championships, entered the coveted chart at No. 6.

The song, which was produced by Westen Weiss and Wheezy, is not only Meek’s first top 10 single, but Drake’s 33rd top 10 single in his career.

Last week, Meek stopped by Funk Flex’s Hot 97 radio show to discuss the newly-repaired relationship with the OVO boy, which went sour over ghostwriting claims by Meek in 2015.

"We apologized to each other… ‘I apologize my ni**a,'" Meek told Flex about his conversation with Drizzy. After the ghostwriting claims sent via Twitter made the rounds, diss tracks were sent back and forth between the collaborators. Drake’s shots fired were heard on the song “Back To Back,” which inspired memes galore and also gained Drake a Grammy nomination.

"That’s just the new wave [apologies],” Meek continued on Funk Flex’s show. “We gotta piece it up, but still keep everything treacherous, it’s the rap game. But you know, bring a little love and good energy into the building."

Championships is expected to top this week’s Billboard 200 Albums Chart, however, a discrepancy has held up this week’s charts. No further explanation into the discrepancy has been detailed.

"Going Bad" is @MeekMill's first and @Drake's 33rd top 10 single on the Hot 100.

— chart data (@chartdata) December 10, 2018

READ MORE: Full Circle: Meek Mill Freestyles Over Drake's 'Back To Back'

Continue Reading

Top Stories