Talib Kweli

The Beautiful Struggle

Talib Kweli is one of the most compelling voices in hip hop, and it isn't because he's an oasis of high-minded political thought in a desert of materialism, misogyny, and PC boogeymen. Despite his billing as the MoveOn.org of hip hop, Kweli rejects the "conscious" tag and openly admits to not voting ... ever. Even on polemical rants like this album's title track, his message is far too scattershot and honest to fit into the false dichotomies of today's partisan politics. What makes Kweli special is his emotional and spiritual transparency. Whether issuing a heartbreaking paean to the women in his life on "Black Girl Pain" or attempting to circumvent religion in his search for God on "Around My Way," Kweli wears his heart on his sleeve. And the best moments on The Beautiful Struggle -- "Ghetto Show" featuring Common and "I Try" featuring Mary J. Blige -- are vulnerable yet hopeful, delicate and sublime.

 
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