The Beautiful Struggle

The Beautiful Struggle

by Talib KweliTalib Kweli

CD

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Overview

Something's not right when a high compliment -- one laid down on wax, no less! -- from a giant like Jay-Z doesn't set off a major sales spike. Such is the case with Talib Kweli, a phenomenal MC who has only flirted with mainstream acceptance, despite being admired by a host of harder-edged platinum artists. Rather than try to ride out that slow if steady momentum and see where it takes him, Kweli takes the power into his own hands and grabs for the brass ring. The Beautiful Struggle is far from a 180 for him, but it's just out of character enough to be awkward. Whether he's attempting to bridge the underground to the mainstream or simply pull away from the former, the results aren't wholly convincing. Not only is Kweli attempting to alter the way in which he's perceived through his own verses; he's also been keeping some unlikely company -- a (superior) prealbum mixtape featured guest spots from Fabolous, Styles P, and G-Unit addition Shawn Penn. More than once on this album, Kweli's as anxious to lose his backpacking image as a fourth grader at 3 p.m. On the title track, he declares, "They call me the political rapper even after I tell 'em I don't f*ck with politics, I don't even follow it." He stands no chance of losing that tag when a line like "the motherf*cking Democrats is acting like Republicans" is contained within the same verse. Plus, he always has and always will excel at depicting facets of interpersonal politics. As much as The Beautiful Struggle is likely to catch longtime fans off-guard and leave mainstream followers indifferent, Kweli's unexpected moves appear to have more to do with trying new things -- and possibly thwarting preconceived notions -- than desperation. Still, there's no denying that it misses a little more than it hits.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/28/2004
Label: Rawkus / Umgd
UPC: 0602498637050
catalogNumber: 000340702
Rank: 136516

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Talib Kweli   Primary Artist,Vocals
Dion & the Timberlanes   Vocals
Mary J. Blige   Vocals
Mark Batson   Piano,Keyboards,Vocals
Faith Evans   Vocals
Anthony Hamilton   Vocals
Common   Rap
Dave Young Orchestra   Vocals
Alex Thomas   Vocals
RES   Vocals,Rap
Bass   Keyboards
John Legend   Vocals
Yummy Bingham   Vocals
Tiffany Mynon   Vocals
Jamia Simone Nash   Vocals

Technical Credits

Hi-Tek   Audio Production
Todd Mason   Producer
K.C. Ross   Composer
C.J.P. Smyth   Composer
Talib Kweli   Executive Producer
Brian Garten   Engineer
Kanye West   Producer
H. Charlemagne   Composer
J. Smith   Producer
Corey Smyth   Executive Producer
Supa Dave West   Producer
Bruce Waynne   Producer
Dirty Swift   Producer
Charlemagne   Audio Production
Alan Mason   Vocal Engineer
Ahmir Thompson   Composer
David Brown   Engineer
Antwan Thompson   Producer

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