Black Star - Mos Def and Talib Kweli are... (Rawkus)
I had limited this zine to mainly hardcore/emo but I listen to a lot of other stuff and this album has made a major impact on me lately. If you haven't guessed, this album is hip-hop, rap, whatever you want to call it. Blackstar are amazing lyricists and the beats aren't tired out samples of old hit songs. They use many different styles from b-boy, to ballads, story telling, etc... This is the way hip-hop is supposed to be. Besides being pleasing to the ears, Blackstar's lyrics deal with social problems, problems they see in rap, etc.... This album restored my faith in hip-hop. Lately so much of it has become mindless crap but these guys are well read and thought provoking. To give you one example: Talib Kweli worked in the oldest black owned bookstore in Brooklyn. When it almost closed down because of financial problems he bought it and still works there. To paraphrase his quote from an interview, "our lyrics are about social change and community. When you have lyrics like that you have to live up to them. So this is my way of doing something physical, so people can see me giving back."