Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) will continue its "Respect the Classics" tribute to many of hip-hop's finest with the vinyl release of rap icon Talib Kweli's four historic Rawkus Records albums, including the underground classic, Mos Def & Talib Kweli are Black Star, in a limited edition two-tone black on black picture disc.
Mos Def & Talib Kweli are Black Star was released on August 18, 1998, to critical acclaim. The title is a reference to the Black Star Line, a shipping company founded by Pan-Africanist Marcus Garvey. The album deals with modern-day issues, philosophies and life in Brooklyn.
The two MCs had planned to release solo albums around the same time, but decided instead to collaborate on a full-length album. The first single, "Definition (song)," is a reaction to hip-hop's fascination with death, dedicated to both Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G., with a chorus that gives a nod to Boogie Down Productions' "Stop the Violence." "Children's Story" is a re-imagination of the Slick Rick original, featuring Mos Def cautioning against materialism. The second single, "Respiration" featuring Common, includes a Hi-Tek produced beat that samples Don Randi's "The Fox" and another from the hip-hop documentary Style Wars. The track offers a melancholy ode to city life, with references to organic life functions such as breathing, eating and sleeping, but with an ominous edge, as Kweli raps about "sitting on shitty steps/we stooped to new lows, hell froze/the night the city slept." The album peaked at No. 53 on the Billboard Top 200 and No. 13 on the Hip-Hop Albums chart, but has become considered a classic since then.
2. Astronomy (8th Light) [feat. Weldon Irvine]
5. Children's Story
6. Brown Skin Lady
7. B Boys Will B Boys
8. K.O.S. (Determination) [feat. Vinia Mojica]
9. Hater Players [feat. Apani Emcee]
10. Yo Yeah
11. Respiration [feat. Common]
12. Thieves In The Night
13. Twice Inna Lifetime [feat. Punch] p>