The first act we actually caught for a full set was Black Star. Talib Kweli and Mos Def pretty much stuck to the script, performing their 1998 Rawkus Records classic Mos Def & Talib Kweli are Black Star in its entirety. Back in ‘98, a collaborative album between two solo rappers was rather unique, but since the release of Hell: The Sequel by Eminem and Royce da 5’9”s and Watch The Throne by Jay-Z and Kanye West earlier this year, news of Mos and Kweli reuniting for a long-awaited sequel seemed a little underwhelming.
But the album still plays well, and songs like “Definition” and “Respiration” got the crowd going—although one can’t help but smirk at dated lines like “What a pity, blunts is still 50 cents.” Mos has an especially commanding stage presence, but it’s hard to maintain a high level of energy when you don’t have big hits, which is why even if “Brown Skin Lady” and “Thieves In The Night” are excellent records, they can still fall flat during a live set.
Mos Def has only released two albums in the last 10 years (let’s pretend True Magic never happened), but he still shined bright on stage rocking a fancy red microphone. At one point Kweli declared, “That’s the second time we did that song in 10 years.” We’re still not sure if he was boasting.