“The era where I came of age in hip-hop, even if somebody made a love song, it was, I love you but not as much as I love my Jeep, I love you but you don’t come before my money. I love my black queen but I have all light-skinned women in the video,” says Talib Kweli, who recently chatted with Jarret Myer, the co-founder of Rawkus Records at SXSW about the importance of making songs that celebrated women of color.
During his run with Rawkus Records, Kweli was involved with some of the best albums of the record label’s historic run: Mos Def and Talib Kweli Are Black Star, Train of Thought, and Quality. While hip-hop heads and fans of good music know the iconic tracks from those records like “Definition” and “The Blast,” songs like “Brown Skin Lady” and “Love Language” were equally important to Kweli.
“Paying attention to hip-hop, and having strong women in my life,” Kweli says. “The representation from men for strong women of color, women of color who loved hip-hop, it just wasn’t there.” It was one of many ways Kweli and Rawkus Records differentiated themselves from the rest and left an indelible mark in hip-hop history that remains influential to this day.
Watch the full interview with Kweli and Myer as they discuss Kweli’s career path, and why Kweli thinks a Black Star reunion album, with production from Madlib, is definitely happening this year: