"Gutter Rainbows" by Talib Kweli

Talib Kweli
Gutter Rainbows

Duck Down Records
2011

Review

Everybody knows that Talib Kweli is an amazing MC. I said so when I reviewed the Relection Eternal album and I'll say it again here. This time Talib goes for a mostly Souled-out feel with the majority of the production recalling classic Soul and R&B music. That's a great fit for Talib given the record's subject matter.

Talib says on the titular "Gutter Rainbows":

"This ain't fashion rap/I'm bringing the passion back "

...and it's really evident in his delivery. I don't know what this album did sales-wise, but I can tell you that it is easily one of Talib Kweli's best. In fact, I'd say that it IS his best solo-record to date - even including his work with Hi-Tek in Reflection Eternal.

There's real musicality on this record. In my track-by-track notes, I say that I was reminded by Atmosphere's new direction. There was a time when it was just The Roots and The Crown City Rockers trying to make music to rhyme over as opposed to just classic Hip-Hop production techniques. It's nice to see (or hear rather) that for non-Hip-POP production artists like Talib Kweli are moving towards a more organic sound. Talib Kweli also seems to know what he wants to do with regard to his music. I'll let him speak for himself. Here's what he has to say on "Wait For You"

My style is unfadable and hater-proof
I slay the booth
I'm known the interupt your program like late-breaking news
Some say it's only egg-heads that I cater to
But wait a few
In order to make an omelette I gotta break a few
My plate is full I wasn't supposed to be here but I made it through
My reputation grew
I left blood on the stage for you
How dare you say that my commitment is debatable
I'm married to the music, the rhythm then I'm slave to you
Commercial artists so relatable
Consumer appetite is insatiable
I could do what they could do easily
But then they'd say Kweli be secretely faking you
Record sales ain't making you
Money is motivating you
The artist gotta lead
I hope the fan base stay with you
The product is shoddy if you rush it for the paper, true
D'Angelo and Sade they take a decade or two
Keep that good music coming and they wait for you

There are really only two tracks on the album that I'm not feeling and both of those songs take a hit in quality on the production side. But the rest of this album is amazing.

I like to complain that Hip-Hop isn't what it used to be. I guess that it's more that the majority of the Hip-Hop that sells records isn't what it used to be. There are a few artists that don't get the radio play that are still fighting the good fight and Talib Kweli has proven to be one of them.

4.308 out of 5

Track Ratings

1. After the Rain (01:27)
2. Gutter Rainbows (04:10) 5
3. So Low (03:14) 3
4. Palookas (feat. Sean Price) (03:57) 4
5. Mr. International (feat. Nigel Hall) (03:36) 4
6. I'm on One (03:55) 5
7. Wait for You (feat. Kendra Ross) (03:45) 5
8. Ain't Waiting (feat. Outasight) (03:57) 5
9. Cold Rain (02:36) 5
10. Friends & Family (03:58) 4
11. Tater Tot (02:56) 3
12. How You Love Me (feat. Blaq Toven) (04:04) 5
13. Uh Oh (feat. Jean Grae) (04:15) 3
14. Self Savior (feat. Chace Infinite) (03:14) 5