Talib Kweli– Eardrum (an RTH Review)

eardrum album covertalib kweli

The Brooklyn MC’s Return is Most Triumphant.

Altho’ I had read about “Reflection Eternal”, “Black Star”, and “Quality”, my first introduction to Talib Kweli was on Kanye West’s “The College Dropout”.

A few months after that, Kweli’s “Beautiful Struggle” album came out, and I immediately copped because I was sick to death of Crunk, Guns, Bling, and anything with the letter “G” or the word “Unit” [||] in it.

Kweli is back with “Eardrum”, and I’m reviewing it because, dangit, I’m running out of lists of lists. Enjoy.

Let’s start with Beats– I’m a picky bastard when it comes to production, and the only bad thing I can say about the beats on this album is that some of the drums sound the same. Basically, that’s like saying “This girl is hot with a great rack, likes Star Wars and Hooters, but she always wears the same shoes.” Fuck that. With contributions from production powerhouses Just Blaze, Kanye West, & Will.I.Am, as well as his old running buddy Hi-Tek, and a couple solid contributions from the veteran Pete Rock and others, the sonic landscape of “Eardrum” has been beautifully manicured to the most Mexican of Landscaping Precision. (that totally made sense, you shut up.) Justin Timberlake allegedly makes a beat on this album, but I don’t believe for a second that he did anything but play with the boards until the other 2 “co-producers” kicked his lil’ ass off. (Dope beat tho’).

Fave Beat– “Listen!!!”.

But How is Dem Rhymes, Uncle The Hussein?– Well bloggateers, dem rhymes be mad phat. No, seriously. Kweli’s inflection and cadence kinda got to me on “Beautiful Struggle”, but I think my ears have evolved (the right one can breathe fire!) to the point where I pick out lyrics over that other stuff, and Kweli is razor f’n sharp lyrically here. I mean, he raps fast, but dangit, this guy rhymes his ass off. Not just in terms of clever lyrics–I mean, I made the “bitter beer face” like 200 times during the course of the album cuz some of the shit he said was ridic-no homo-ulous. No, what I mean by “rhymes his ass off” is that he goes inside and out [||] with the flow rhyming dang near every other word of every line. It’s incredible.

Fave Verse– Verse 1 of “Listen!!!”, but really, it’s like picking your favorite child.

Who he got on the album? They aight?– UGK, Kanye West, Norah Jones, Jean Grae, Musiq Can’tSpellChild, Dustbin Timberlake, Strong Arm Steady, KRS-1 & a few others all make solid contributions. Another reviewer on another site said the UGK Collabo felt forced, but I rather enjoyed the Norff to Souff props. It reminded me or a more wistful, better-lyrically version of “The Player Way” off Ma$e’s “Harlem World” album. Kanye’s verse was cool for about 12 bars, and then he went kinda “Ehh..” on us. Norah Jones is f’n amazing. The two contributors I enjoyed the most were, surprisingly, KRS-1 and Justin Timberlake. KRS-1 might be 156 years old, but dude’s voice and lyrics sound like they could really be from any time in hip-hop. Dustbin took a break from his normal Timba-bland Falsetto nonsense to deliver some nice vocals on his track.

Best Collabo– Kweli & Norah Jones. (and Norah, if you’re reading this, shout me a holla….just don’t tell Greenie.)

Cool, Cool. Anything Else?– Kweli doesn’t go crazy with off the wall concepts, but his overall messages about music, religion, government/politics, and the community are all incredibly strong. In particular, I enjoyed the concepts of “Hell” and “More or Less” a lot.

Overall Rating– Here at It Ain’t That Serious, we’ve given a lot of thought about what kind of rating we would use on our reviews. I can’t do mics, t-shirt sizes are just silly, and stars are boring. I’ve chosen to use: Boobs.

A Cup = Terrible. Aural Herpes.

B Cup = Ehh, has it’s moments.

C Cup = Just over the line into “Good territory”.

D Cup = Enjoyment has been attained. Brag to your buddies.

DD Cup = Perfection. Line up for High 5s, you lucky bastard.

Soooooo given that, I’d give Talib Kweli’s “Eardrum” a solid D Cup rating. Homeboy kicked ass and took names. A quality purchase at any price.

NOW GO BUY THE DANG THING AND QUIT BEING A DOWNLOAD WHORE!

–RTH

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34 Responses to “Talib Kweli– Eardrum (an RTH Review)”

  1. the audience Says:

    *Dorktionary engaged*

    uber-cool breakdown dude….and your “REY-ting System” (yeah, use it) is “hilaREYous” (use that too)…how can anyone not cop the album after reading this?

    *Dorktionary dis-engaged*

  2. Big Homie Says:

    Eardrum by far is in the top albums of the year. I am digging the lyrics and production. Listen is definitely crack. Like the review. Madd diffrent and interesting. Props on the creativity, especially the rating scale. Boobs???

    Brilliant

  3. reythehussein Says:

    lol @ the audience… I’ll be sure to incorporate that. Sheeitt, I’m the one who has a tag called “embrace your dorkiness”.

    @ Big Homie– Yessir.. Kweli sounds hungry, and the beats are ridiculous.. Prolly the best since Food & Liquor.. I love F&L, but Eardrum > Lupe’s 1st.

    Thanks to both for the props, they’re appreciated.

  4. green eyes Says:

    lmao.. great review. brilliant rating system. now i need to go listen to it.
    i still hate dustbin.
    lol @ norah jones. its ok. norah’s cool

  5. reythehussein Says:

    Thanks Greenie.

    Now *ahem* Just how cool is Norah?

    Like, “She’s a good musician cool” or “Reminds me of drunken nights with my college roommate Amanda” cool? 😉

  6. G7 Says:

    His best work since Reflection

  7. Belize Says:

    *Damn*

    U kinda used the idea..i was goin to use on my rating system

    *goes back to drawing board*

    U hear that Wale?

  8. reythehussein Says:

    ^^^ Dang, sorry homey..

    I forgot all about it, I’m sorry. I was kinda busy yesterday. I’ll try to get to it today.

  9. the audience Says:

    *Damn*

    U kinda used the idea..i was goin to use on my rating system

    *goes back to drawing board*

    =======================

    @ Belize

    Here’s a thought…..why not call give each album a “prognosis” (use it)- as if you were a doctor (Dr. Belize sounds official) at a hip hop-spital (use that too)….

    thank us later…..

    *awaits check*

  10. Jamz Says:

    Good stuff ReyGey….

    Using a boob based rating system will prolly cut down your female visitorship tremendously, but who cares, right?

    Boob = the new dirty pillows

    LOL

  11. Belize Says:

    the audience Says:

    =======================

    @ Belize

    Here’s a thought…..why not call give each album a “prognosis” (use it)- as if you were a doctor (Dr. Belize sounds official) at a hip hop-spital (use that too)….

    thank us later…..

    *awaits check*
    ——————————————————————

    LOl…i like that..what I was gonna do was the grading system backwards, cuz If u see, I like to flip ignorant shyt into sum else. So I was gonna make

    D= dahshyt
    C= Cocaine (i.e. Good at the time or addictive)
    B = Bitter ( some may like it, some may not)
    A = Ashtray (thats all its good for)

    *throws blueprint in trash*

    *pumps fist*

    Damn u Hussien…lol..it aint that serious

  12. green eyes Says:

    Using a boob based rating system will prolly cut down your female visitorship tremendously, but who cares, right?

    ^ only the humourless ones. i mean come on.. we have em, we know you like em, why be offended by it?

  13. reythehussein Says:

    Re: Belize’s rating– Why not something like? (lol @ Beli)

    1 Star = Sober
    2 Stars = Slight Buzz
    3 Stars = Drunk
    4 Stars = Shytfaced
    5 Stars = “What did I do last nite???”

  14. reythehussein Says:

    green eyes Says:

    Using a boob based rating system will prolly cut down your female visitorship tremendously, but who cares, right?

    ^ only the humourless ones. i mean come on.. we have em, we know you like em, why be offended by it?

    ****

    @ Jamz– Thanks for the love, homey. [||]

    @ Greenita– Darn tootin’. I went totally ga-ga over an A cup chick as well as a B cup chick, so big boobs aren’t always a Must-Have.

    Boobs are awesome, and I say that respectfully.

  15. Belize Says:

    reythehussein Says:

    August 28th, 2007 at 12:23 pm
    Re: Belize’s rating– Why not something like? (lol @ Beli)

    1 Star = Sober
    2 Stars = Slight Buzz
    3 Stars = Drunk
    4 Stars = Shytfaced
    5 Stars = “What did I do last nite???”

    ^
    *dies*

    dawg u got me looking like a a nigga that needs rehab

    No No No (c) Amy Winehouse

  16. Belize Says:

    so big boobs aren’t always a Must-Have.

    ^

    Im a ass man (no lil wayne tendencies)…

    Phat ass, lil titties > Big titties and Lil Ass

    *looks around room*

    *sees greenie*

    Woops my bad..lol

  17. reythehussein Says:

    I wasn’t trying blow up spots, Mr. “I have a regular feature called “Smoke Break on my blog”! (j/k fam)

    As for boobs vs booty.. I’m a total boob guy. I could take or leave the big ass (um.. pause.. just in case), but I don’t think I could ever be truly happy with a small racked girl.

  18. the audience Says:

    how ’bout flies?

    4 flies= hot shit (gather ’round for the goodness)
    3 flies= dead body(good if you’re into this type of thing)
    2 flies= spoiled food (you can try it- it still may be good)
    1 fly= garbage truck soup (avoid at all cost)

  19. Rasheed Wallets Says:

    … brains > titties OR ass …

  20. Rasheed Wallets Says:

    … spilled Chablis’ > Talib Kweli …

    … ol’ nasal, whiny ass nicka … seems like a good dude tough …

  21. the audience Says:

    Rasheed Wallets Says:

    August 28th, 2007 at 12:43 pm
    … brains > titties OR ass …

    ====================

    We concur…..but if possible can we make an amendment to that to say:

    smart with stupid titties and ass…..best of both worlds

    (no oasis seeking sand taxi collabo with 40 year old user of human urinals)

  22. the audience Says:

    Conundrum* > Ear Drum

    *step up your vocab

  23. Belize Says:

    reythehussein Says:

    August 28th, 2007 at 12:37 pm
    I wasn’t trying blow up spots, Mr. “I have a regular feature called “Smoke Break on my blog”!

    ^
    Fine!

    *ponders changing feature to “Strees relief of the week”*

    *figures that that sounds real homo*

    *flicks roach blunt at rey*

    DAMN YOU!

  24. reythehussein Says:

    Rasheed Wallets? Hmm, why do those ellipses look familiar? Is Brentwood in the house?

    1- Brains as in smarts or brains as in “uh-heh-heh-heh”?

    2- This album was dope.

    lol @ The Audience.

    @ Beli– Your world is crumbling, and for that I apologize.

  25. Dr.Fuxie Teacher of Etherology Says:

    good shit this album is Bonkers ………..yo Strong Arm Steady Kweli’s weedcarriers also drop a heatrock today cop it…….http://hiphopremix.com/content/view/398/28/ visit my new post over at Hiphop Remix

  26. Belize Says:

    @ Beli– Your world is crumbling, and for that I apologize.

    ^

    The world is mine..remind me to revoke ur parking permit when I take over

  27. Jamz Says:

    green eyes Says:

    August 28th, 2007 at 12:19 pm
    Using a boob based rating system will prolly cut down your female visitorship tremendously, but who cares, right?

    ^ only the humourless ones. i mean come on.. we have em, we know you like em, why be offended by it?

    ^^Greena…you’za Miami based educated thug chic, so I know you don’t care about ReyGey using boobs as a rating system…LOL! U are not most other women, and that’s why you’re my superhero femme fatal…

  28. lo k Says:

    I concur, the album is dope and it’s that much better when you cop it for 10 bux at Best Buy to boost 1st week sales…

  29. ElGringoColombiano Says:

    Hey Rey,

    I was reading a nahright post, I saw that Belize is spreading the gospel of [||], no blasphemy, to other nahrighters like you.

    Good isht man, I appreciate it.

    Pls vote for [||] definition at urbandictionary
    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=%5B%7C%7C%5D

    fyi – here’s my post where it all started, where I created [||]
    http://elgringocolombiano.blogspot.com/2007/08/nohomology.html

  30. thoreauly77 Says:

    “Conundrum* > Ear Drum” = a mystery wrapped in an enigma.

    great post rey; interesting and unique format.

  31. reythehussein Says:

    @ The White Colombian– No problem, and props for the ingenuity. I’ll link to that particular post when I update.

    @ Thor– Thanks homey, I appreciate it!

  32. Big Homie Says:

    Rey is a popular dude

  33. reythehussein Says:

    lol.. No I’m not.. never underestimate the power of a bored Nahgger.

  34. Dr.Fuxie Teacher of Etherology Says:

    Yo good review and I like B-Cups but her booty has to be precise. B-Cups are like little warm muffins and when you see them they are like peek-a-bo

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