By: Matthew Burke
Rap has always seem to be one of the trickiest performances to pull off in the musical world. In the amidst of opening acts that— some, not all— became just short of mildly entertaining. Heavy bass that vibrates the ass and makes you go, “oh that tickles” seemed to be the common theme. Although a butt massage is not what the people came for, and through all the musical commotion it is difficult to make out what was being rapped. This caused a lack of energy in the crowd, but as Talib Kweli took the stage you could feel his presence; his demand for attention. Accompanied by long-time collaborator, Hi-Tek, the duo spit lyrical rhymes that could be— for the most part— easily recognized and understood which is refreshing in regards to live hip-hop. The 40 year-old rapper’s thick vocal flow pierced through creamy east coast beats to the point of losing breath, keeping you zoned in. The New York native is known for launching Kanye West’s career and to be a political lyricist. That being said, two songs in an interruption phone call from Obama himself came over the loud speaker— come on Talib, you know it’s rude to answer your cellular device during a performance. Through the whole set the crowd was throwing their hands up as if they just don’t care, eating up all of what Talib was feeding them. This included a little spat on the hip-hop game, declaring that too many rappers do it for the money, poisoning all its goodness. Then it was back to the jams, and after the encore the hashed out “Get By” off of 2002’s Quality. Probably Kweli’s ‘claim-to-fame song that threw down the house; creating the biggest response from the audience. This put the shutters down on a pretty stellar performance by the iconic lyricist.