Talib Kweli Breaks Down His 25 Most Essential Songs

Kanye West f/ Consequence & Talib Kweli "Chain Heavy" (2011)

Album: G.O.O.D. Fridays
Producer: Q-Tip
Label: Def Jam / Roc-A-Fella Records

Talib Kweli: “I went to Kanye's house the summer before he started dropping those records. He had just broken up with Amber Rose and there was a lot of boxes. It was like her stuff was being moved out of the house. But we just chopped it up about music for hours.

“It was him and Don C. and his man, Lil Man, and they all had on suits. I’m like, ‘What’s going on, did y’all just come from the awards?’ He was like, ‘Nah, this is how I’m dressing now. Rosewood—it’s my new thing.’

“I said, ‘What do you mean?’ He’s like, ‘The movie Rosewood, how all the black people had all the money back then. This how we gonna dress. As a matter of fact, I gave away all of my jeans. I have no more jeans.’ I was sitting there in a pair of jeans and sneakers. He was like, ‘I don’t even wear sneakers no more.’

 

It was him and Don C. and his man, Lil Man, and they all had on suits. I’m like, ‘What’s going on, did y’all just come from the awards?’ He was like, ‘Nah, this is how I’m dressing now. Rosewood—it’s my new thing...As a matter of fact, I gave away all my jeans. I have no more jeans.'

 

“We also talked about Egyptology. He was like, ‘Yo, I’ve been trying to read up about Egypt. I’m on this Pharaoh thing.’ I’m like, ‘That’s great. I’m fully supportive of that.’ Then we started talking about the album. He played me ‘Runaway,’ he played me ‘See Me Now.’ He was like, ‘This is gonna be my first single, ‘See Me Now.’

“He’s like, ‘Listen to what I say. I just said, ‘I walked in Nobu with no shoes.’ Did you hear me say that?’ He was really excited about that record I remember. But then he was like, ‘Yo, you should get on this album.’ I’m like, ‘Come on man, I should get on the album? All you have to do is give me a beat.’

“So I went back the next day and he told me he, ‘I did this rhyme when I went to Facebook. People seemed to really like it, so I’m gonna make a record out of it.’ When he kicked me the rhyme, that rhyme is just so unapologetically black. I was like, ‘That’s what this new album is gonna sound like?’ And he’s like, ‘Yeah.’

“I was like, ‘Shit, you got a beat for that?’ He played me the beat and I said, ‘Give me the beat, I’ll have something for you tomorrow.’ He gave me the beat, I recorded my verse, and sent it back to him. I didn’t know what he was gonna do with it, until one Friday it came out."

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