Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Talib Kweli ....... drops some wisdom!!!!

" Gangsta Rap Ain't Selling, "Because A Lot of it Ain't Good"

Wednesday - May 16, 2007 by Carl Chery

With violent and misogynistic rap being targeted by the media in Hip-Hop's post Imus climate, Talib Kweli may finally get some long deserved mainstream exposure. The BK emcee caught up with SOHH to chop it up on hardcore rap and address rumors of getting slapped at a 50 Cent party.

Hip-Hop seems to be headed for a change since Don Imus' "nappy headed h*es" controversy. Oprah Winfrey called a town meeting, reverend Al Sharpton challenged record labels and Russell Simmons is seeking to ban the n-word, "h*es" and "b**ches" from clean versions of rap songs. But after generating profit for labels all these years, can hardcore hip-hop realistically be shelved in favor of more progressive content. Kweli thinks so.

"I do see it [hardcore rap] getting less play, but it has nothing to do with Don Imus or anything like that. It has to do with the fact that people aren't buying that music anymore," Kwe told SOHH.

"If you look at the CD sales of rappers who are talking about that stuff, it's on the decline. It's been on the decline for years. And it's not because it's misogynistic, and it's not because they calling them h*es, it's because a lot of it ain't good," he continued. "The art of the music has suffered where everyone wanted to get in the game and just hustle. There's nothing wrong with hustling and getting your money, but when no one focuses on the art, when the art means nothing then people are gonna stop buying."

"High School Musical! is still selling millions, R&B, there's certain country acts and certain people who take their music seriously that the music is still selling," he continued. "But hardcore hip-hop, because it's fraudulent, it's not based on reality, it's not selling."

After years on Rawkus and MCA Records, Kweli founded his own imprint, Blacksmith Records with distribution from Warner Music Group. The transition from artist to executive has been an interesting learning experience.

"It's been tough. Only because it's hard for the major to accept my position as an executive. They still treat me like an artist like I need to be protected and I don't feel like they keep it real with me all the time. And I stress for them to keep it real with me," Kwe explained. "The other part is that I've had to step my game up and be responsible and pay attention to things I've never paid attention to."

Usually absent from headlines, Kwe recently found his name all over in gossip columns. The word spread that the BK lyricist was slapped by a woman during a party at 50 Cent's mansion. Kwe identified the woman as his girlfriend and admitted to being slapped, but had a few words for the incident's reporters.

"What's crazy though is that you realize that you're a public figure and these people don't have lives. You would think that somebody who's at a 50 party is pretty comfortable with theyself because they successful, they doing they thing," Kwe shared. "But there's a lot of these dudes who need to be DJs spinning records that's actually gossiping like chicks. It's funny to them, what happened is my negative situation becomes entertainment and I gotta live with that because I'm a public figure. I was just surprised with a lot of these people. They supposed to be all gangsta, but they all in my business like chicks."

Talib Kweli's Eardrum, featuring production by Hi-Tek, Pete Rock, Madlib, Kanye West and guest spots by Norah Jones, UGK and Jean Grae, hits stores in July.

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