(AllHipHop Features) Talib Kweli Greene has been a respected staple in Hip Hop culture since the 1990s. As an emcee, he is responsible for solo studio LPs such as Quality, The Beautiful Struggle, Prisoner of Conscious, and Radio Silence.
Kweli initially became a force in the musical landscape in 1998 as one half of the Brooklyn-based duo Black Star with Mos Def (now known as Yasiin Bey). The Javotti Media founder also partnered with Hi-Tek (Train of Thought, Revolutions Per Minute), Madlib (Liberation), Res (Habits of the Heart), 9th Wonder (Indie 500), and Styles P (The Seven) for collaborative projects.
Since Summer 2019, Kweli continued his love for being behind a microphone by transitioning from recording artist to host of the People’s Party podcast. The lyrically-gifted political activist – along with actress/comedian Jasmin Leigh – has interviewed celebrity guests such as Bun B, Jemele Hill, T.I., Van Lanthan, Too $hort, Lil Kim, Don Cheadle, The Game, Rapsody, The Lox, and Chuck D.
As large parts of the world are practicing social distancing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, I got the chance to contact Talib Kweli via email. The exclusive Q&A covers the Reflection Eternal member’s latest entertainment gig, sparring with Donald Trump defenders on social media, and the highly-anticipated Black Star reunion album with Yasiin Bey.
AllHipHop: How are you handling the self-distancing situation?
Talib Kweli: Unlike many people, I am privileged and blessed to be quarantining with access to nature. This has helped my spirit tremendously. I’m humbled and thankful, because I know that’s not an option for most.
AllHipHop: Has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your recording of the podcast?
Kweli: We recorded People’s Party episodes at a breakneck pace as if the world was going to come to a stop anyway. We have many episodes in the can, probably enough to outlast social distancing.
AllHipHop: What was behind your decision to start People’s Party?
Kweli: Shout out to Jarret Myer from Uproxx/Rawkus, he approached me with the idea. I’d already tried to do a podcast before with TuneIn and I was planning on revisiting that at some point but partnering with Uproxx made it pop off quicker than I thought it would.
AllHipHop: Is there a particular conversation that has stood out to you so far?
Kweli: Ice Cube stands out because unlike most of the guests I didn’t really have a relationship with him prior to the show. He’s one of my favorite MCs and human beings and having a conversation with him is one of the best things that’s ever happened in my career.
AllHipHop: Are there any people that you haven’t interviewed yet that you would like to have on the show? Why that person?
Kweli: Bjork. She’s her own genre of music and I think an hour plus sit down with her would be awesome.
AllHipHop: Do you have any interest in possibly hosting a talk show on a television network or a streaming platform?
Kweli: Yeah, why, you the plug?
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AllHipHop: You are very active on Twitter. Particularly, you have no problem engaging with MAGA and ADOS trolls. Would you be open to inviting a well-known Trump supporter on your show to discuss the 2020 election?
Kweli: I love the fact that you called ADOS trolls because that’s all they are. But yes, I once heard that fools multiply when wise men remain silent. I live by that code. I was raised to understand that pro-blackness means you never ignore bigotry if you see it. Bigotry is not logical, it doesn’t go away when it’s ignored. I also understand the paradox of tolerance which is why I will never invite people who are intentionally bigoted to my platform. My support for free speech doesn’t mean I support freedom from consequences. Only Trump supporter invited to my show would be Kanye West, and we would definitely have to discuss that.
AllHipHop: Would you be open to taking part in an Instagram Live DJ battle during the self-quarantine period?
Kweli: I am not a skilled enough DJ to battle anybody. I could do a playlist battle. I’d win that. Maybe a catalog discography battle with another artist. I’d do well with that as well.
AllHipHop: Are you still recording music? Do you have any plans to release another full-length album?
Kweli: I’m always recording. I have an album with Diamond D and a new Black Star album with Yasiin Bey on the way. I just dropped a quarantined video for the People’s Party theme song with Boots Riley, check it out on my YouTube.
AllHipHop: Can you give an update about that potential Madlib-produced Black Star reunion album?
Kweli: Trying to find the right deal for the Black Star album. There are a few on the table, but we have to choose the right situation and roll this out properly. The people deserve that.