Talib Kweli + Diamond D
"The Pro-Blackness provokes us - They mad cause I be making white supremacy my focus." - Talib Kweli "The Fold"
Talib Kweli and Diamond D have joined forces to produce a tough and silky love letter to New York City. One-part Brooklyn laureate and poet, combined with one-part D.I.T.C. Bronx lyrical beatsmith equals a signature concoction of sounds that gives honor to one of the greatest cities in the world, during one of the most unprecedented times in the 21st Century.
Once you enter the Gotham atmosphere, you realize that you weren't prepared for such an illustrious beatdown of language and phonics that subsidized an idealism of a city's historical energy that has been emanating for nearly 400 years. Gotham is merely one of the hundred nicknames that describe America's largest city. The city reeks of distinction with monikers such as The Big Apple, the Capital of the World, Empire City, The City So Nice They Named It Twice, the City That Never Sleeps, including countless songs heralded by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Billy Joel, Alicia Keys and Jay Z that has permeated the myth. However, Kweli and Diamond's chronicled collaboration is more than a celebration of the place they call home. It is an aspirational, well-thought collection of essays that build upon the demonstrative vibes and culture of New York humanity, not just the magic, but how the city can swallow you up within its abyss. Through a nostalgic lens, this album is reminiscent of a moody Gil Scott Heron and Brian Jackson ensemble, timeless in its effort to capsulate the current issues of social, political, and economic injustice while it informs as an intuitive conversation piece for the urban community to strive for hope.
The musical landscape is subtle and dark, with jazz notes indicating a level of weathered maturity. The native, dynamic duo are a particular type of griot. "Who we be? We Pro-justice and we're Pro-black. (Who we be?) We Pro-knowledge and we're Pro-facts," insists Kweli. Talib is widely known for his provocative subject matter and collapsible wordplay, which is timely evident throughout the album. The chemistry is solid. The dynamic works. Diamond truly hones in on production, creating dramatic textures and assigning each song its own individuality. Talib's voice, topical style, and cadence etches an insightful roadmap along the way. In the opening track 'Sons Of Gotham', Talib states "I'm already Kweli nigga, an architect of hip hop I'm a key figure. I gotta pretend I'm not me to make you feel more comfortable about being you? Please nigga." 'On Mamas' is an undeniable Brooklyn dedication that resonates with depictions of NYC borough living. On a sweet note, there is 'In Due Time', an introspective departure and beautiful lift-off, ascending to altitude with the help of Nire Alldai's sweet vocals. Much like a symposium, there are guest speakers. Cuts like 'The Quiet One' featuring Busta Rhymes, 'Pick Ya Head Up' with the ghostly John Forte, and 'Attention Span' featuring Skyzoo, set a tone of deep-tissue rhyme slayin' over brooding beats, but the grooviest stand-out features an animated, whimsical Latino rapper named NIKO IS on 'I Tell Ya Later'. You can't help but sing along to the playful, bouncy, arcade-like vibrations. Diamond proves again that he undisputedly reigns as 'the best producer on the mic' effortlessly spitting bars of sarcasm while maintaining the boards on tracks 'Chillin While Black' and 'The Fold'.
"Give me six feet I might go psycho. Nice on the mic since Tyco Nite-Glow. BMW bikes out, same homie. Fuckin wit D -- lights out, James Toney." - Diamond D, The Fold
Gotham is an immaculate LP. Talib Kweli and Diamond D are in rare form. A classic hip-hop keepsake for the modern-contemporary era.
Gotham is available everywhere. Listen HERE.