One classic album, two solo careers, several side projects, a name change, and 19 years later, we revisit the album Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Blackstar. This is one CD era album that endures in the streaming age, with over 20 million plays on Spotify. It will still be talked about next year, along with other albums that will be turning 20 in 2018. The duo is reuniting for some select dates this fall so of course, there is speculation and hope for new music.
Yasiin Bey f.k.a. Mos Def has been touring the world recently and dropped a Tidal exclusive last year. His album The New Danger just went Gold, 13 years after its release. Talib has been grinding away on his own projects and co-founding Indie 500 with 9th Wonder. A few rare live performances and deep cuts like the Obama era “You Already Knew” (over a raw Aretha Franklin sample provided by Madlib) have teased fans with new Black Star material for years. Since Yasiin Bey has hung up his solo cape for the time being, could Black Star rise again by 2020?
So far, we have one crowning jewel and it is arguably one of the last classic Hip Hop albums of the 20th century. It gave us an introduction to Hi-Tek of Reflection Eternal and a slew of underground battle rappers like Wordsworth and others from the lyrical Rawkus era. It gave us one of the coldest Common guest verses ever recorded. It sill speaks words of power to every B-Boy and Brown Skin Lady that listens.
Given the tension of the Trump era, another pivotal Hip Hop masterpiece to “light up the sky like the 4th of July”, or a solar eclipse, would do the people some serious good. Perhaps they will follow the playbook of fellow Native Tongue artists ATCQ and bless us with the 21st-century version of Black Star. In the mean time, if one of their upcoming shows is nearby, definitely pull up and enjoy the vibe.