Nobody does real talk like Reggie Ossé a.k.a. Combat Jack. The former rap industry attorney, media executive, author, and Internet radio talk-show personality now hosts The Combat Jack Show, where hip-hop's biggest names are put on the front line. The questions will be tough—and shots will be fired. Co-hosted by Dallas Penn, Premium Pete, and Just Blaze, The Combat Jack Show appears every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday on Complex TV.
In the first part of our three part interview with Talib Kweli on The Combat Jack Show, Talib talks about the similarities between hip-hop and academics, which he views as a critical crossroad for rappers. "Hip-hop is filled with nerds. Jay Z is a hustle nerd, Nas is a project nerd, Bun B is a trill OG nerd," Talib states. "All these dudes who rap, and the ones who take the craft seriously, they come from a place of nerdiness. They come from a place of studies."
Though Talib Kweli would eventually beginning rapping in high school, he says he dabbled in ghostwriting before then. "There was dudes in the neighborhood that would rap, my friends, and I would write rhymes, like, 'Try this out,'" Kweli says. "That happened a couple times before I was like, 'You know what, I've developed the confidence. Now I want to do it myself.'"
After attending college for some time, Kweli goes on to explain that he dropped out to pursue rapping. While the Brooklyn native began to build some buzz, he cites his girlfriend's pregnancy as the moment that hip-hop went from being a pipe dream to becoming a full-time gig. "When I found out my girl was pregnant, I didn't miss nothing. I was at every show, every open mic. I grabbed every microphone I could. I threw my own shows at the bookstore. I just got on beast mode."
Talib Kweli's album, Prisoner of Conscious, is out now. You can catch him on the road this summer, with show details listed here. And don't forget to check out Complex TV's Original Show--Magnum Opus, where the Brooklyn rapper talks crafting his biggest hit, "Get By".
Also check out Talib Kweli on Complex TV's Bold Moves below.