Talib Kweli Talks 'Prisoner of Conscious' Album

Source : Billboard.com

Talib Kweli always has somethinginsightful to say on the social and political fronts. But "Prisoner ofConscious," due May 7 on Javotti Media/Caroline Distribution, travelsbeyond the issues that established Kweli as a rap pioneer and gets morepersonal.
Throughout his career, theBrooklyn-based rapper has channeled his creative muse through variousincarnations: As half of Black Star with Mos Def, partnering with producerHi-Tek for "Reflection Eternal" and, most recently, teaming withsinger and longtime collaborator Res as Idle Warship on 2011's "Habits ofthe Heart."
Kweli notes, however, that hissocially and politically charged reputation sometimes means that people don't"necessarily understand the musicality behind what I do." So with'Prisoner of Conscious,' he "tried to stretch my wings a bit and bringsomething that was less beholden to the world of hip-hop and more existing inthe world in general; to celebrate my hip-hop roots but still have it in newerpackages."
Those packages come wrapped withan impressive string of guests. Miguel teams with Kweli on the upbeat Motownthrowback "Come Here," while Melanie Fiona joins in on the driving"Ready Set Go." Nelly, with singer Abby Dobson, shines on theintrospective music-and-life-themed "Before He Walked." One of themore unlikely pairings is with Brazilian singer/actor Seu Jorge on the carefree"Favela Love," inspired by a trip to Sao Paulo. Additional guestsinclude Kendrick Lamar, Curren$y, Busta Rhymes and Ryan Leslie. Productioncollaborators range from Oh No and J. Cole to RZA, Sean C & LV and SymbolicOne.  Kweli's fifth solo studio album isbeing released under his Javotti Media banner. Named after his paternalgrandmother, the label is the successor to his earlier indie venture,Blacksmith Records, originally distributed by Warner Bros. Javotti's firstrelease was Kweli's 2011 album Gutter Rainbows, distributed by 3D. Now CarolineDistribution is onboard for Prisoner of Conscious, also complementing the projectwith radio and online promotion.
"Talib's mentality and workethic are a very good fit for what we do," says Michael Harris, executiveVP/GM of EMI Label Services/Caroline. "The indie world doesn't work foreveryone; some artists need that major-label support. But Talib is almost likea one-man machine. He's very hands-on. Gutter Rainbows was an indication of hisfan base and what he can do, with no promotion, so to speak."