In 1998, Brooklyn-based hip-hop superstars Talib Qweli and yasiin bey (still then going by Mos Def and capitalizing his name) found themselves recording solo albums at the same time. With the support of DJ and producer, Hi-Tek, they put their individual projects on hold and made Mos Def and Talib Kweli are Black Star, one of the most critically acclaimed albums in the history of hip-hop.
Now, Qweli and bey, this time with Madlib on the boards, have announced the imminent release of Black Star's sophomore album, No Fear of Time, on May 3rd. But for indiscernible reasons, the collective's first drop in nearly a quarter century is exclusive to the Luminary podcast network.
“About 3-4 years ago I was visiting yasiin in Europe and we started to talk about songs to do on an album," Kweli recalled in a Friday press release, "so I flew an engineer out just to see what that would be. Once I realized this conversation is starting to organically become a creative conversation, I started making sure to have the engineer around at all times. There was one day we were just in a hotel listening to Madlib beats, and he’s like ‘Play that Madlib tape again.’ I’m playing the beats and he starts doing rhymes to the beats. And that’s how we did the first song.”
Kweli added, “This is very similar to how we did the first album. But the first album, there were no mobile studios. This entire album, we have not set foot in one recording studio. It’s all been done in hotel rooms and backstage at Dave Chappelle shows.”
The 9-track album drops on May 3rd. You'll need a Luminary subscription ($3 a month after a 7-day trial) or access to Apple Podcasts in order to listen.