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Album review: Prisoners of Conscious

A refreshingly rebellious offering and one of the standout hip-hop albums of the year.

Talib Kweli
Prisoner of Conscious

(Javotti / EMI / Capitol)
****

Having been pigeonholed as a “conscious rapper” for his intellectual approach to socially aware lyricism, the Brooklyn MC Talib Kweli breaks the shackles of stereo-type on his fifth solo album, Prisoner of Conscious.

“My music has been associated with positivity, spirituality, intelligence and being thought-provoking and such,” he explained on his website. “I think sometimes people get caught up in that part of me as an artist and don’t necessarily understand the musicality or fully appreciate the music and the entertainment value behind what I do.”

On his latest offering, Kweli teams up with the R&B crooner of the moment, Miguel, on Come Here, gets uncharacteristically materialistic on Upper Echelon and collaborates with mainstream artists such as Nelly (Before He Walked) and Busta Rhymes (Rocket Ships). Prisoner of Conscious doesn’t match up to much of the verbose rapper’s back catalogue but it is a refreshingly rebellious offering that showcases his versatility and cements itself as one of the standout hip-hop albums of the year.

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