Blackstar: “Respiration”

BlackStarFebruary is African American Heritage Month and WERS AT NIGHT is honoring one artist or one song every day this month that helped contribute to social consciousness, political responsibility, or civil rights. At WERS, we believe that these songs are always bigger than just entertainment; music can be used to drive a movement or even motivate a nation.

Today we will be honoring the hip-hop group Blackstar.

The hip-hop group Blackstar is comprised of New York rappers Mos Def and Talib Kweli. Both of these emcees are known to be conscious emcees who rap about their experiences in the ghetto and about conscious issues going on in inner city communities. They have both gone on to have successful solo careers but they dropped an album called “Mos Def and Talib Kweli are Blackstar.” This album featured songs like “Definition”, “B-Boys will Be Boys”, and “Respiration”

This whole album was full of conscious songs that addressed the African American community. “Brown Skin Lady” is an ode to African American Women. They made this song to tell the women in their communities that they will always love them. It’s an ode to the women that raised them and the ones they swoon for. “B Boys Will B Boys” pays homage to one of the elements of hip-hop culture, break dancing. As they often do so well, Blackstar always find a way to make the original elements of hip-hop culture relevant in all the music they do. The consistent nods in their music to the originators are a part of what makes them special. Another song I would like to highlight off of their album is “Respiration.” This song features Chicago emcee Common. The three men trade verses talking about fast women, political corruption, drugs, lack of education, and a slew of other issues that plague the inner city.

Blackstar has not been seen as one the most popular rap group in history but they are highly respected due to their content and consistency. They combine real issues with great lyrical delivery.

By Malcolm Gray

If you liked this, check out:
Murvin’s “Police and Thieves”
Jimmy Cliff: “Vietnam”


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