Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Black Star WILL 'Keep Shining' in 2012

Late Night Performance Reveals New, Old Tracks

When Talib Kweli and Mos Def--now officially known as Yassin Bey--announced plans last year for a new album under their shared moniker Black Star (and a tour in support of said album), fans salivated at the prospect of the duo's first shared project since their legendary 1998 LP.

The particulars, however, were a little slow in coming. While the pair toured the festival circuit over last summer then launched an in-earnest US club tour in the fall, the album's first Madlib-produced track, Fix Up, was leaked very early in the year to mixed reviews, and not much was known as to the direction or substance of the long-rumored album.

Then, following a strong live showing in October on the Colbert Report that went viral, just before Thanksgiving Fix Up was officially released to itunes along with a second track available for free download, You Already Knew:

But perhaps more exciting than the track itself (a fully-mixed version with a soulful Aretha sample) was the revelation that at least one of  Black Star's latest projects will be an Aretha Franklin-inspired mix tape that actually bears the name Black Star Aretha. What's NOT known is whether this is a stand-alone release or in addition to an entirely new album of Bey/Kweli material. Talib recently told MTV Hive, "We have a bunch of songs recorded. We are just trying to figure out the best way to release them, whether it’s going to be one by one, EP or album.  Right now, the plan is to release “Fix Up” and then Yaasin is working on a Yaasin Bey Presents project and then we’ll see how it goes. [Pause, then slowly] I am working to put out a Black Star project for people to buy sometime next year."

Last night (January 3rd), the duo kicked of 2012 in style with a performance of Knew on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and then, backed by Fallon's studio band (hip-hop legends The Roots), treated the audience to a web cast-only rendition of the 1999 J-Dilla-produced classic, Little Brother, which for fans of the late, great Dilla, was chill-bump-inducing.

The beat is so legendary in hip-hop circles that the Roots' Questlove took time to record a separate four minute featurette explaining its genesis, which involves Dilla taking 32 separate half-second snippets from Roy Ayers' 1973 release Ain't Got Time , then assembling the excerpts over the course of four hours while killing time waiting to take Quest to the airport. The beat was later accidentally discovered by Black Star who added vocals, and the track was featured on the soundtrack to the 1999 Denzel Washington film The Hurricane.

The portal to get the free download of You Already Knew, is here, the Questlove featurette on J. Dilla is here, and the amazing Black Star / Roots performance of Little Brother is below:

No comments:

Post a Comment