The iconic hip hop duo Black Star is releasing a new album for the first time in 24 years. Black Star is made up of rappers Talib Kweli and Yasiin Bey, who for many years were known under the hip hop moniker, Mos Def.
Their debut self-titled album was released in 1998, and now the group officially released the long-time-coming second record, “No Fear of Time,” on May 3. Both artists are known for their respective solo careers. Their first project was a historical surprise, and rap and hip hop fans are more than excited to see the two vital hip hop contributors return to continue their musical and artistic journeys together.
The release of “No Fear of Time” is accompanied by new episodes of “The Midnight Miracle,” a podcast series hosted by Kweli, Bey and Dave Chappelle who is a longtime friend, fan and collaborator of both artists. The opening episode has been considered as a form of digital liner notes for the new record, and includes upcoming music and conversation about the new album.
“What you will continue to get out of us is a sincere expression,” Yasiin Bey expressed in a statement about the new work. “It’s who we really are, what we’re really responding to, and what’s really important to us.”
After 24 years without a new collection of music, this marks an occasion that should be celebrated and attract enthusiasm from listeners from all over the world. Kweli and Bey rose to prominence in the late 1990s offering conscious, afrocentric and introspective music in a time when hip hop was deep, dark, street-related and simmering in depth and enlightening pessimism from the realities of New York life beginning in the mid 1990s. Before then, New York hip hop was struggling to reclaim its voice as West Coast hip hop began to dominate the radio airways and Billboard charts. Both artists brought a refreshing sound of depth and awareness.
“About 34 years ago I was visiting Yasiin in Europe and we started to talk about songs to do on an album, so I flew an engineer out just to see what that would be,” Kweli shared in a statement. “Once I realized this conversation is starting to organically become a creative conversation, I started making sure to have the engineer around at all times. There was one day we were just in a hotel listening to Madlib beats, and he’s like ‘Play that Madlib tape again.’ I’m playing the beats and he starts doing rhymes to the beats. And that’s how we did the first song.”
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