In case you missed it, this week a New York federal judge ruled on a suit regarding the New York City's controversial "Stop-and-Frisk" laws, which allow police officers a greater amount of leeway in conducting searches and seizures. Critics claim that these laws reinforce racial profiling and have done disproportionate and irreparable damage to communities of color.
Talib Kweli joined Philip Agnew in resounding agreement with the court's ruling, arguing that laws like this reinforce racism and the same kind of mentality that ignited the Trayvon Martin shooting, among others.
“By accepting stop-and-frisk as a policy, you’re telling people that because you live in a poor neighborhood it’s your fault and you deserve to be criminalized," Kweli explained. "And that’s not constitutional.”
New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has indicated that the city will appeal the ruling, meaning this could go on to the Supreme Court in due time.
Stream: Pharoahe Monch "The Truth" f/ Common & Talib Kweli (1999)
This edition of #OldSchoolSundays is actually indirectly brought to fruition by Kanye West. And that's because yesterday he tweeted that his 2nd verse on "New Slaves" is the best rap verse of all-time. Naturally, you're going to get some responses that argue differently, and one of those came from Mitch of The Bulls Show who said Pharoahe Monch's verse on "The Truth".
This gem was on the Internal Affairs album from 1999 and features none other than Common & Talib Kweli. All three put down some phenomenal, thought-provoking verses that you have to keep a close focus on to fully understand. There's not one line that's lacking in the whole song, but for fun, I decided to grab my favorite ones from each artist.
"True feelings, we speakin on the truth right now in itself is healing
See The Creator, created existence and balance
At right angles, unless it was conceived and stated
So whoever shall stray away from right lives wrong."
- Pharoahe Monch
"Out of everybody I met, who told the truth? Time did."
"When the words of lying men sound lush like the sound of a violin
The truth is there, it's just the heart you gotta find it in."
- Talib Kweli
Needless to say, give this soulful record a spin above! I'm sure to many of you this old school jam is a new one to take in. Whether it is or it isn't, it's a refreshing and timeless track that can fit in your hip hop rotation today.
Talib Kweli has taken over the past couple of nights of Late Night. Up first: Jay Leno with Nelly and Abby Dobson for the Trayvon Martin tribute track "Before He Walked" (fast-forward to the 36 minute mark OR watch the whole thing and see what 'Chuck' is up to now!)
The following night (last night), Kweli showcased his versatility for those paying close attention: he performed his collab with Pretty Lights called "Around The Block". The juxtaposition between PL & Talib made this one an even more interesting live performance that translated well to the televisions. Watch this one below (along with another of Conan's guest last night, and possibly my favorite comedian right now, Ben Schwartz!)
Here is my 2nd pick for must-see music videos (J. Ivy's "Everything" being the other) in the past 24 hours. Talib Kweli premiered the unexpected animated visual for his smooth hit with Miguel "Come Here" and it was such the artistic expression that gave the song a new interpretation. When music videos do that, they jump another level in my eyes. Here, Kweli takes inspiration from Ancient Egypt's Anubis and Isis. The former is the half-man, half-jackal who is the protector of the dead and embalming. Isis is the goddess of motherhood, magic, and fertility, and worshipped as the ideal mother and wife. She then matches the lyrics as the ideal target that Kweli rhymes about and Miguel croons after. Plus, the connection to Anubis could be that she is also a protector of the dead.
Nonetheless, it was fun to go back into my memories of Ancient Egypt education to further understand this video that quite honestly came from left field. And I love that. The concept and the animation were not done tacky and was in fact the opposite — smooth, well-edited, and bringing to life "Come Here" in another way. Props to director Galen Pehrson. Give this a press of the play button and cop Prisoner Of Conscious in stores now!