Category: Talib Kweli

Black Star to play 'Colbert Report,' cancels several U.S. dates

Black star

L.A. fans waiting to see Mos Def and Talib Kweli unite onstage as seminal hip-hop duo Black Star will have to settle for setting their DVRs to Wednesday's "Colbert Report." The group also announced that it was canceling a string of dates on its U.S. tour, including stops in New York and the Los Angeles area.

Strangely enough, Black Star will still be performing a (gasp) new track called "Fix Up" on the Comedy Central show.

In all, seven dates have been canceled, including shows in Las Vegas, Anaheim, Charlotte, N.C., Cincinnati and Indianapolis. No details on why were readily available.

Since late August, the rappers have been bestowing hip-hop heads nationwide with a show based on their sole full-length, "Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star," released in 1998 as part of the Rock the Bells Presents Club Tour at House of Blues venues nationwide. They also have performed the album at the Rock the Bells Festival Series shows in San Francisco and New York, as well as an abbreviated version in Los Angeles.

Pop & Hiss will report more details on the cancelations as they become available.


Review: Rock the Bells gazes back while looking ahead

Rock the Bells, House of Blues announce concert, theater series

Lauryn Hill, Nas, Cypress Hill, Black Star, Mobb Deep to perform classic albums at Rock the Bells 2011

-- Nate Jackson

Photo composite Mos Def, left. Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times. Talib Kweli, right.

Lauryn Hill, Nas, Cypress Hill, Black Star, Mobb Deep to perform classic albums at Rock the Bells 2011


Traveling hip-hop festival Rock the Bells is taking a page out of the genre’s history books by focusing on a set of game-changing albums for this year's showcase.

Though still relatively downsized from lineups of the past, a who’s who of rap royalty, including Lauryn Hill, Nas, Cypress Hill, Mos Def and Talib Kweli, Mobb Deep, Raekwon and Ghostface and the GZA, headline the bill for the eighth year of the multi-city festival that begins Aug. 20 at San Bernardino’s San Manuel Amphitheater.

Continuing last year’s move to highlight influential albums, this year’s batch of headliners will take on entire sets from the albums that made them respected giants in the game: Hill performs “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” Nas tackles “Illmatic,” Cypress Hill will do “Black Sunday,” and fans pining for Mos Def and Talib Kweli to reunite as Black Star will be rewarded as they performs their 1998 self-titled debut album.

At a launch party for the concert at House of Blues on Tuesday night, the excitement from eager reporters was matched by the batch of performers who assembled onstage for the announcement.

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Live review: Kanye West, Queen Latifah highlight 'Common & Friends' benefit show


“I’ve been to a lot of charity events, but I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Old-school rapper Heavy D surveyed the sold-out Hollywood Palladium crowd gathered for the second annual “Common & Friends,” a star-studded affair that featured appearances from a seemingly endless cavalcade of A-list hip-hop stars to benefit Common's Common Ground charity.

The audience had already seen a series of highlights. De La Soul opened the show with a quick, high-energy set, punctuated by a surprise appearance from masked rapper MF Doom, who ferociously ripped through his verse from “Rock Co.Kane Flow.”

Black Thought and Amir “Questlove” Thompson represented for the Roots, and Ludacris ignited concertgoers with a crowd-pleasing set that culminated with “I Do It for Hip-Hop.” The latter allowed him to introduce Nas, who appears on the recorded version (video here).

After a simmering take on “One Mic,” Nas looked on in appreciation as the night’s host, Common, proceeded to spit most of Nas’ “N.Y. State of Mind” verbatim.

The crowd was also treated to an impromptu Black Star reunion, with Mos Def and Talib Kweli hitting the stage together. The two galvanized the audience with solo hits “Umi Says” and “Get By,”  respectively.

But it was Heavy D who offered up one of the most surprising highlights of the show. Among the many unbilled performers of the evening, even those too young to remember Heavy D's late '80s/early '90s hits such as “We Got Our Own Thang” and “Now That We Found Love,” responded to his showmanship and the enduring qualities of the songs.

Word had been circulating throughout the day that one Kanye West would also be among the surprise performers, a fact that Common teased the audience with briefly.

“He’s still going through some things, trying to deal with everything that’s happened because of a choice he made, so he couldn't make it tonight” Common said, obviously referencing West’s meme-generating mike grab from Taylor Swift at the 2009 MTV VMAs. “But he still wanted me to send his love to everyone.”

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