Talib Kweli Breaks Down His 25 Most Essential Songs

Reflection Eternal "2000 Seasons" (1997)

Album: Fortified Live B-Side
Producer: Hi-Tek
Label: Rawkus Records

Talib Kweli: “We had a bunch of songs that we played for Rawkus that they didn’t like. Once we got the budget we decided we would come with something fresh. The songs we had played them were a year or two old. So we took the budget and we went in the studio to record a B-Side for 'Fortified Live.'

“With 'Fortified Live' I was very focused on, Well this record’s gonna come out, and I’m gonna get lost, and everyone knows Yasiin and Mr. Man, they don’t know me—yet it’s my first single.This was something that was weighing heavy on me. I had a complex about people not taking me seriously as an artist because I came out with these two other established artists first.

 

It would be hard for me to learn that record and perform it today because it’s so lyrical and so dense. I performed it back then in those early days, but that record is just like 48 bars or 60 bars. No hook, just me rapping.

 

“My idea for ‘2000 Seasons’ was to do a record that was super wordy and super lyrical so no one could ever be confused about my lyrical prowess and how good I was.

"It would be hard for me to learn that record and perform it today because it’s so lyrical and so dense. I performed it back then in those early days, but that record is just like 48 bars or 60 bars. No hook, just me rapping.

“The conventional wisdom in the music business today is completely opposite. Like, even with big huge stars; you rarely hear a Drake, Rick Ross, Lil Wayne record on the radio that doesn’t have Drake or Rick Ross or Wayne as a guest. So now the wisdom is, ‘Nah, you need to have somebody on the record. That needs to be your first record.’

“But Rawkus, Brian and Jarret, they knew better than me. They made the right decision. They were thinking business. They were thinking, ‘Yasiin has an established brand, people are very excited about Yasiin right now. You got this guy from the Bush Babees, Bush Babees are still a semi-popular group in hip-hop circles. You want synergy. You want people to understand that this is a movement. We’re pushing the Rawkus movement.’ That wasn’t my focus. My focus was, ‘Nah, they need to know how nice I am.’”

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