The Brooklyn-based rapper earned his stripes as one of the most lyrically-gifted, socially aware and politically insightful rappers to emerge in the last 20 years. His travels around the globe as one of rap's most in-demand performers combined with his conversations with political activists and his genre-straddling work with Idle Warship and others caused Kweli to realize that he was limited in a sense, a prisoner of sorts of his own success as one of the world's best rappers with something significant to say.

"My music has been associated with those types of causes, with positivity, spirituality, intelligence and being thought-provoking and such," he says. "I think sometimes people get caught up in that part of me as an artist and don't necessarily understand the musicality or fully appreciate the music and the entertainment value behind what I do. I tried to stretch my wings a little bit and bring something that was less beholden to the world of hip-hop and more existing in the world in general."

The result of this artistic growth and exploration arrives with Kweli's dynamic Prisoner Of Conscious AKA P.O.C., an artistic tour de force that signals the start of the next chapter of Kweli's remarkable career. The BK MC spent more time working on Prisoner Of Conscious than any of his other albums, a three-year journey that found him exploring new vibes, joining in some unlikely collaborations and taking him to foreign lands.

Produced by Symbolyc One (Kanye West, Ghostface), the title track's alternatively rap and rock-based beat provides a distinctive platform for Kweli to deliver rhymes that detail his artistic awakening, while producers Sean C & LV (Jay-Z, Raekwon) created a Marvin Gaye-esque vibe for "Come," a cut featuring Miguel that showcases Kweli trying to convince a series of women to do things his way.

Then there's the dramatic, piano-driven "Before He Walked," which showcases passionate vocals from singer Abby Dobson and includes a verse from possibly the most noteworthy guest on Prisoner Of Conscious: Nelly. Both Kweli and The St. Louis rapper recount the importance music has had in their lives on the stirring song, which was an outgrowth of conversations about music and life Kweli and Nelly had at Kweli's Los Angeles residence.

"Nelly is somebody I've known and have been friendly with throughout the years in this business," Kweli says. "Nelly has always been an example for me because a rising tide raises all boats. Nelly is an artist who is polarizing at times because of the 'Tip Drill' video to the boycotts he's endured at colleges, but I know him as a person, and he's a great person."

Elsewhere, the driving "Ready Set Go" with singer Melanie Fiona features Kweli's ever-impressive clever verbal gymnastics, which are also on display on the stark Busta Rhymes-guested and RZA-produced "Rocketships."

Kweli shifts gears on "Favela Love." Inspired by and created during a trip to Sao Paulo, Brazil, the breezy song features crooning from Brazilian singer and actor Seu George (City Of God, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou). Kweli and George met in the studio, leading Kweli to deviate from his original concept for the song.

"The song went from being about a woman to be being about Brazil, about the favela, about loving to come there," he reveals. "The woman is really a metaphor for the place. That's why it's called 'Favela Love.' When I was telling Seu George about that, he started singing about how much he loves Brazil and where Brazil fits in the world."
After nearly 20 years of releasing mesmerizing music, Talib Kweli stands as one of the world's most talented and most accomplished rappers.

Whether working with Mos Def as one-half of Black Star, partnering with producer Hi-Tek for Reflection Eternal, releasing landmark solo material or collaborating with Kanye West or Madlib, Kweli commands attention by delivering top-tier lyricism, crafting captivating stories and showing the ability to rhyme over virtually any type of beat.

In particular, Kweli showed his artistic reach in Idle Warship. Teaming with longtime collaborator and acclaimed singer Res, Kweli began getting out of his sonic and creative comfort zone on the group's 2009 mixtape Party Robot and its debut album, 2011's Habits Of The Heart.

Idle Warship's music challenged Kweli and led him to a new artistic space. "I like the position I'm in," he says. "I feel like I'm a connector, a leader. I feel like I've led by example and I want to continue to do that. I like the fact that I'm in a position where cats who are coming out and making music that I enjoy are interested in my music and are interested in my influence. It's a great feeling."

Kweli also has the high-powered Attack The Block mixtape with DJ Z-Trip set to arrive and will be focusing on making his Javotti Media (which released his 2011 album, Gutter Rainbows, and is named after his paternal grandmother) into a media powerhouse that releases music, films and books.

But for now, Prisoner Of Conscious arrives as an artistic triumph, a collection that embodies Talib Kweli's robust creative vision. "I wanted to put out an album that really can support the artist that I've become," he says. "I'm a touring artist. I'm an artist that's internationally known. I'm not just a local artist at this point in my career. I'm cognizant of the fact that what I do is beyond where it started. I'm trying to reach the apex of where I am now, but without turning my back on or dismissing what I've done before."

Big K.R.I.T.

Justin Scott (born August 26, 1986), better known by his stage name Big K.R.I.T., is an American hip hop musician and record producer from Meridian, Mississippi.

In June 2010, Big K.R.I.T released his album, K.R.I.T. Wuz Here, digitally, garnering critical acclaim.[1] That same month, former president of G-Unit Records and current Senior VP of A&R at Def Jam Records, Sha Money XL, signed him to the label as one of his first priorities in his new position.[2][3]

K.R.I.T. previously released several mixtapes, including Hood Fame, with DJ Wally Sparks and The Last King, with DJ Breakem Off. He's also made guest appearances on Pilot Talk, the third studio album and major label debut from rapper, Curren$y as well as Kush and Orange Juice, the critically acclaimed mixtape by rapper Wiz Khalifa, that was the No. 1 search and trending topics on Google and Twitter following its release. He is a frequent collaborator with both artists.

K.R.I.T. is an acronym, meaning King Remembered In Time.

In October 2010, K.R.I.T. will co-headline The Smoker's Club Tour with Curren$y and Smoke DZA.[4] He is set to appear in Little Rock, AR with Curren$y and Mac Miller.

In November 2010, K.R.I.T. opened for Wiz Khalifa in Winston-Salem and in Ashland, Virginia during the Waken Baken tour.

He is one of the featured XXL Top Eleven Freshmen of 2011, along side of Meek Mill, Cyhi Da Prynce, Lil Twist, Yelawolf, Fred The Godson, Mac Miller, YG, Lil B, Kendrick Lamar & Diggy Simmons.

Tope

If you were to only listen to the chatter online and in the newspapers and magazines of the world, you'd likely think that the only music being made in Portland, Oregon was lovelorn folk and literate indie rock. But scratch below that surface, and you'll find a strong, vibrant underground hip-hop scene that dominates the stages and eardrums of the city for decades.
The Portland rap game couldn't stay below street level forever. Word is starting to spread about the talent the Rose City boasts, and the one name that keeps popping up on people's lips is a rapper known simply as Tope.
A good deal of that attention is due to the respect that Tope has earned for the years he's committed to the scene. Starting in his teens, he's been a fixture at local hip-hop showcases and freestyle jams. He eventually started a pair of groups, Living Proof (with Seattle-based rapper Prem) and the well-respected crew TxE with Epp and Calvin Valentine (aka G_Force). Tope has also been providing production help and dropping by for guest appearances on tracks by artists including Abstract Rude, Myka 9, TiRon, Planet Asia, Kev Brown, Scarub, LMNO, Waajeed, and many more.
As any restless and talented artist would, Tope has been stepping out on his own, releasing solo albums that have only burnished his talent even brighter. His latest effort Until The Next Time We Meet (released in March on Amigo/Amiga Records) is the culmination of all the hours he's put into honing his lyrical and production abilities, all the connections he's made, and his pure love of hip-hop.
This soulful collection features some crackling production work by Tope himself as well as Trox, Stewart Villain, Devonwho, Tony Ozier, LAWZ SPOKEN, and his TxE cohort Calvin Valentine. He connects all sides of musical personality together by inviting his bandmates Prem and Epp to drop verses on "Life Of The Party." A little R&B flavor is sprinkled in thanks to local singers Michele Wylen, Caitlin Cardier, and Reva Devito. And the whole thing is tied up tight by Tope's storming lyrical flow and witty wordplay.
Until The Next Time We Meet – and all of Tope's work to date – have helped bust open plenty of doors for the young talent. He was placed at #6 on Willamette Week's Best New Bands of 2012 list, joining the likes of Radiation City, Onuinu, and his collaborator Reva Devito, as well as #2 on The Deli Magazine's Emerging Artist List of 2011. He's also been asked to share the stage with a bevy of hip-hop greats including Talib Kweli, Dom Kennedy, Blu, Macklemore, Mac Miller, Shabazz Palaces, Dead Prez, Nappy Roots, Digable Planets, The Coup, Spaceghostpurrp and more.
Portland and the Northwest community have already shown lots of love and respect for what Tope brings to the table. Now it's time for the rest of the world to take notice.

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Talib Kweli, Big K.R.I.T. with Tope

Wednesday, December 11 · Doors 7:00 PM / Show 8:00 PM at Wonder Ballroom