Album Review - Talib Kweli- Prisoner of Concious
The album starts musically with "Human Mic" starts with a decent track as Kweli goes in rapping and touching on his normal topics of social awareness, how he can spit, and the fact that the game is lacking when it comes to content these days. As usual, Kweli's flow is going to be a turn off to some and the beat sometimes competes with his vocals for clarity. "Turnt Up" channels the late 80's with a 'remake' of Paid In Full though I loathe the hook the verses are straight and its some chilled material. Miguel handles the hook on "Come Here" where Talib aims to tell the ladies how he's going to love them but his vocals seem to clash slightly with the tempo and vibe of the song but it's just who he is. Not that it's a bad song.
Speaking of features, Melanie Fiona sings on "Ready, Set, Go" as he talks about going through life. "Push Through" with Currensy, Kendrick Lamarr, and Glen Reynolds is about perseverance and is an album highlight though I can admit I'm not a currensy fan. Busta Rhymes features on the Rza produced "Rocket Ships" which is way too busy for my tastes but Busta is spitting. Abby Dobson and Nelly feature on "Before he Walked" where Nelly struggles just because his cadence is so sing-songy it feels out of place. The 70's feeling on "High Life" is assisted by Rubix and Bajah and it isn't my favortie track.
On "Hold It Now" Kweli goes in to spit some bars on his backpack rapper I rip tracks shit but once again the track is too high. "Hamster Wheel" is about a young woman's struggles and getting caught up in a negative cycle. Meanwhile, on "Delicate Flowers" he talks about some of the difficulties of being in a relationship in his celebrity lifestyle. "Upper Echelon" is forgettable and I have heard it four times and couldn't tell you a thing about it. "It Only Gets Better" is a fitting end for the album for an artist like Kweli as he talks about things still getting better from this point. Before that "Favela Love" with Seu Jorge.
Overall Talib Kweli is now making music for his core following. There aren't any mega-breakout hits on here that will get some spin on urban radio and raise his profile. He stays tried and true to his formula and the one issue I have is that he didn't have enough production that fits his rap style. His cadence and voice are rough so at times they clash with the drums in his music and it becomes a chore to get to the lyrics, which more times than not are very impressive. If the goal is to make music for the normal fans and tour, he does a decent job but I grew bored with it unfortunately because there weren't those little moments for me as a listener.It just feels like it is missing a unified theme or something that grabs you which kind of sucks cause Kweli can really spit.