Talib Kweli Breaks Down His 25 Most Essential Songs

Reflection Eternal "Move Somethin" (2000)

Album: Train of Thought
Producer: Hi-Tek
Label: Rawkus Records / Universal Music Group

Talib Kweli: “Whichever record you made that most closely fits with the trends that are going on, then that should be your single. I felt like that was the record, there was ‘Loud’ and ‘The Blast’ and it was ‘Put your hands in the air,’ and ‘Gettem up, Gettem up.’ Like everyone’s records at the time had something about put your hands in the air.

“Like on ‘Fortified Live’ I say, ‘Planes get shot down in Cuban air space over the water,’ because everybody was rapping about their drug dealers are from Cuba at the time. So I was like, I’m gonna do this too but I’m gonna talk about Assata and the planes getting shot down. I’ve always been cognizant of the trends, but I try to flip it in my own way.

 

I compare that album to being at a coal mine and banging on a coal until you form a diamond. Me and Hi-Tek really butted heads during the album process. We butted heads so hard we didn’t speak to each other for two years after we made that album because we just got sick of each other.

 

“I compare that album to being at a coal mine and banging on a coal until you form a diamond. Me and Hi-Tek really butted heads during the album process. We butted heads so hard we didn’t speak to each other for two years after we made that album because we just got sick of each other.

“Hi-Tek had his vision and I had mine. We both appreciated things in each other, and we understood why we were in this group together, but the way I grew up was sharply different from how Hi-Tek grew up. The reasons why I loved that sound was very different from why Hi-Tek loved that sound. The reason why I loved that sound was more intellectual, Hi-Tek’s was more emotional.

“I’m a very debatable type of guy. I debate a lot and I’m very persuasive in how I stand on what I feel is to be right. If I have my facts together, I am not going to stop arguing with you. Whereas Hi-Tek is gonna fall back and be like, ‘You know, if you don’t feel me I’m not even gonna engage.’ Us being like that is why that album sounds the way it does. We were really trying to perfect each other on that album.”

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