Talib Kweli shows Milwaukee what a True MC is

Talib Kweli
The Rave in Milwaukee, WI

Talib Kalib at the Rave 4-21-2011 # 6

Talib Kweli is known for his socio-political lyrics since the days of being in Black Star with Mos Def, and DJ HI-TEK and throughout his career as a solo artist. Most rappers nowadays have no clue how to put on a true hip-hop show. They come out bragging, talking about bitches, weed, and money… Ok now what? Grab me a pillow so I can sleep this set off from the kush haze in the air, and then comes along a true MC like Talib Kweli, as well as one of the most respected rappers of our times.

As with most hip-hop shows, most people come when the headliner is about hit the stage and that was the case here. The doors opened at 7pm and there was about 50 to 75 people and by the time Kweli came on, the place was filling up.  It wasn’t a sellout audience, but still a nice crowd for a cold Thursday night.

The backing band included his DJ, Drummer, Bass, and keyboard player – for me, being a fan of live music; this is how all big name rappers should perform a show. The DJ warmed up the crowd with a few spins on the turntables before Kweli stepped onstage to get the crowd going. The first part of the set featured tracks off his newest album, Gutter Rainbows, and as the night rolled on, he dipped into the past with “Definition,” “I Try,” “Get ‘Em High,” as well as one of the highlights, “Lonely People,” that samples from the Beatles “Eleanor Rigby.”

While Kweli is not all about club bangers, ass-shaking, hits while onstage, you can’t help but nod your head as he raps and his razor sharp flow is always on-point and will paint pictures in your head.

With close to a 1 1/2hr set that include a break for the band and left just Kweli and his DJ, you could not ask for anymore if you’re an old school hip-hop fan.  As the night closed, the show ended with a free flowing version of “Get By” that showcased the talents of all the members in the band. As I walked out the venue, I could hear the fans talking about how great the show was and one fan who I spoke with mentioned, “This is what hip-hop is – the struggles of everyday life, not the drinking or smoking, but keeping it real so we can get by in this metaphoric Gutter Rainbows we live in.”

Click on the thumbnails to enlarge photos:

written by Peter Lizano

written by Peter Lizano

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