Talib Kweli Breaks Down His 25 Most Essential Songs

The Roots f/ Talib Kweli "Rolling with the Heat" (2002)

Album: Phrenology
Producer: The Grand Wizzards
Label: MCA / Geffen Records

Talib Kweli: “?uestlove from The Roots was a huge Black Star fan, Black Thought not so much. Quest was like, ‘Yo we need to have Black Star on the album,’ so he asked me and Yasiin to rap on the beat for 'Double Trouble.' The Roots are my favorite group behind De La, so I’m like, ‘I’m on The Roots album!’

“When album actually came out, I wasn’t on the song. Meanwhile Ahmir [?uestlove] thanked me in the credits so I was happy about that, but I was like, ‘What happened?’ Years later, after I toured with The Roots, I got closer with Tariq [Black Thought], who shares his birthday with me.

 

I know Black Thought wasn’t really feeling me like that was because he told me. He was like, ‘Yo, I gotta admit to you, when I heard that verse that you kicked on that beat, I didn’t feel you really brought it like that. So I was like, Yo, I don’t think he needs to be on the song.

 

“I know Black Thought wasn’t really feeling me like that was because he told me. He was like, ‘Yo, I gotta admit to you, when I heard that verse that you kicked on that beat, I didn’t feel you really brought it like that. So I was like, Yo, I don’t think he needs to be on the song.’

“He said, ‘But since I’ve been listening to you, I feel like you’ve gotten better and more consistent.’ And he said something very important to me, he was like, ‘You’re the last one who still cares about emceeing, you’re the last one who seems to still care about the lyrics and I really appreciate you for that.’

“I remember him saying, ‘I don’t rap for anybody but other rappers. I don’t care what nobody else thinks about what I say. Just other rappers.’ And when you listen to his lyrics and his style and the way he does it, you can tell.

“I was asked to be on a Roots album again for ‘Rolling with the Heat.’ Ever since then me and Tariq been real real good friends and he kept it all the way real with me.”

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