will release his eagerly awaited new album -- "Ear Drum" -- on July 24th. A career-defining work that showcases the Brooklyn rapper's advanced lyricism and faultless musical taste, "Ear Drum" is Kweli's first album released on his own label, Blacksmith Music and Warner Bros. Records.
Kweli says the album's title comes from "the image of the ear and of the drum, which are powerful enough by themselves, but put them together and it's an instrument in your body that helps you hear. They're also two very simple, yet powerful words. I wanted to focus on finding a sound that makes you move, and that's where the word 'eardrum' popped in my head."
With lyrics that touch on life's journeys and struggles, "Ear Drum" also showcases Talib's sonic versatility with tracks ranging from the silky-soulful "Soon The New Day," which features vocals by best-selling chanteuse Norah Jones
, to the sexy first single "Hot Thing" and the hard-edged "Say Something," which features rapping by Blacksmith artist Jean Grae
"Ear Drum" boasts innovative production work by such vanguard artists as Kanye West
, who worked on Kweli's 2002's gold-certified "Quality
" and 2004's "The Beautiful Struggle
"; Black-Eyed Peas
; rapper-producer Madlib
; and Black Star
, who also collaborated with Kweli on the gold-certified 2000 album "Reflection Eternal
." Of his desire to collaborate with a variety of producers and artists, Kweli says: "We need to challenge our audience, but we also need to challenge ourselves to know that whatever our new experiences are, we can write about them, be creative, and bring that to an audience without them feeling alienated."
Since making his debut with Mos Def
as Black Star in 1988, Kweli has become known as an exceptional and socially aware artist who has rejected mainstream rap's embrace of violence and bling in favor of addressing issues of black consciousness and self-love. "Ear Drum" solidifies his status as one of rap's most talented and important voices.