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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Kweli kicks it with the Wildcat

    Hip-hop artist Talib Kweli performed at Centennial Hall Tuesday night as part of the Virgin College MegaTour. Kweli is most well known for being half of the Muslim alternative hip-hop group Black Star alongside Mos Def.
    Hip-hop artist Talib Kweli performed at Centennial Hall Tuesday night as part of the Virgin College MegaTour. Kweli is most well known for being half of the Muslim alternative hip-hop group Black Star alongside Mos Def.

    In a recent interview with one of underground hip-hop’s biggest names, Talib Kweli discussed his current tour, his record label and some of his hopes for his latest album.

    Wildcat: On your new album, Ear Drum, you worked with Will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas. What was that experience like?

    Kweli: Will is a good friend of mine; I went touring with the Black Eyed Peas in 1998 and I was on their last album. It’s just a natural thing. I’m in a position to work with people that I’m comfortable with and we worked with two songs on the record.

    W: You tour pretty consistently. What made you interested in doing the Virgin College Mega Tour?

    K: Um, they’re paying me.

    W: Are there any colleges on the bill that you’re excited to hit up?

    K: I am actually. I do 250 shows a year so it’s just something that I do and it just happened to be the Virgin tour that I got on. It’s a good thing; I’ve hit some the colleges up before. But, to be honest with you, I don’t know the specific names of the colleges I’m going to. I’m just going on tour and where I need to be at, that’s where I’ll be.

    W: Have you been to the UA before?

    K: I don’t think so.

    W: The tour kicked off a few days ago. How has it been sharing the stage with Sugarcult?

    K: I haven’t really seen Sugarcult perform. I’m not really familiar with their music, but when I met them at a party, they seemed pretty cool.

    W: Ear Drum is scheduled to hit stores soon. What kind of sound can your fans expect to hear this time around?

    K: Well, a lot of artists don’t really like to give out expectations because it’s like, you don’t want to fall short of expectations, but Ear Drum is the first album that I’ve released on my own label, so there is a lot more riding on it, for me, the success of it, and that’s the biggest difference.

    W: Do you think that releasing the album on your own label gave you more freedom?

    K: I’ve always had good experiences. And I’ve never had a situation where someone has made me put out a record or anything like that, but it does give me more freedom in terms of marketing and promotion, sure.

    W: You studied at New York University – did you have any crazy or memorable experiences there?

    K: I went to NYU for one year and studied experimental theater, and was doing theater all day. To be honest, I can’t even remember the names of the two courses I took or what they were – the time that I was there really went by quickly.

    W: You’ve come a long way from Black Star, so what’s the overall message that you want to convey now with your latest album?

    K: That I do it my own way. Talib Kweli is my real name and there is a certain integrity that goes into my music when I make it, so I want people to feel that integrity when they listen to it.

    W: You have an online blog. Has this been a good way to keep in touch with fans and show them where you’re at?

    K: Yeah, definitely. I mean, I have never been quite in the mainstream outlet. I’ve never had success from a huge radio single or anything like that. I’ve had success from people getting to know my music and the more they can invest in it, personally, the more invested they are in it.

    W: Do you think the type of success that you have had is more fulfilling than the success that comes with producing a major radio hit?

    K: It’s not only fulfilling, it’s recommended. That’s the best way to really have your success, by having it as something that is slow-brewing and something that won’t go away because you don’t have a song on the radio.

    W: So, what’s in your CD player?

    K: Jean Grace, one of the artists on my album and my label right now.

    W: When all is said and done, where do you see yourself in 10 years?

    K: Just doing what I’m doing and getting better at it.

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