During the latest episode of People’s Party with Talib Kweli,” he and Yasiin Bey (f.k.a. Mos Def) gave an update on their long-awaited follow-up to their iconic debut album, Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star.
“To people who don’t know, Madlib has produced the whole next Black Star record and I’m excited about it,” Kweli says in a preview clip of the episode, set to air this week. “It sounds great.” However, Bey, who has been vocal about his gripes with the recording and entertainment industry for quite some time—particularly his concerns about free downloads and streaming services—addressed his reluctance to drop a Black Star album at this point in time, as well as fans’ disappointments with the ongoing delay of its release.
“It’s not about streaming, that’s not the problem,” Bey explains. “It’s about, you mean to tell me that the source of labor at the center of this experience is supposed to be satisfied and grateful with receiving a portion of a penny for their efforts and labor? Now, whoever else is happy with that, then that’s you. You can take your labor to the market however you see fit, but when it relates to something that I’m doing and that I’ve been doing, I don’t have to ask you niggas [for] permission. I don’t have to get your understanding. And if I’m ambivalent or like, ‘I don’t know, something about it just don’t feel right,’ and I’m searching for a better way to do it, that’s completely my volition. I’m not here to be run by the audience’s expectations because I have my own needs. You have your own needs.”
From there, Bey turns to critics of his creative process, adding, “I appreciate your enthusiasm, but that sh*t is not a steering wheel in my back for you to start spinning and doing donuts like I’m disappointing you. If you want the next Black Star album that bad, then you make it. So just chill out until we get the sh*t sorted out cause who the f**k is more essential to Blackstar than Blackstar?” He caps off his point by requesting that listeners stop making incessant inquiries on when they can expect the album, in blunt fashion. “Stop knocking on the f**king kitchen door talking about, ‘When is it coming,’ when none of y’all ni**as can cook,” the Black on Both Sides artist says. “At all.”
Reports surrounding the release of a new Black Star album, which has been in the works since as far back as 2005, regained steam in 2019 when producer Madlib and Now Again Records founder/president Eothen Alapatt confirmed that a new album from Kweli and Bey had been completed and was in the process of being mixed. However, in July 2020, Kweli abruptly announced that there would be no new Black Star album, sharing his frustration in an Instagram post that has since been deleted.
“I’m tired of being silent about this.,” he said at the time. “I tried my best, y’all. Flew around the globe. Paid for this out of pocket. All for the culture. I’m a fan of Black Star, too. I want to see this come out as bad as y’all do, or more,” he said in the now-deleted Instagram post. “But people who never made a beat, never wrote a rhyme in they life, got they fingers in the pie and are being disrespectful to what me and my brothers built. It’s in God’s hands now. I’m on to other things, life is too short to be disrespected by culture vultures. Maybe y’all will get to hear this album after I’m gone.”
However, with the recent premiere of a new Black Star record this past May, and Bey taking the time to voice his frustrations with a rare interview, there are a few rays of hope to help give us faith that an album from the dynamic duo will eventually see the light of day.
Watch the full episode of Uproxx’s People’s Party with Talib Kweli where Kweli talks about hip-hop history, his experiences in Africa, and more below.