With a machine-gun flow and a mind to match, Talib Kweli has become one of the most heralded emcees in the hip-hop underground. Or, at least, the barely-above-ground now, courtesy of radio sits like “Get By,” that have shown this Brooklyn native has pop hooks to go along with his supreme mic skills. He first came to the attention of rap fans as one-half of the legendary duo Black Star along with Mos Def. He questioned the rampant gangsterism plaguing hip-hop at the time and decided to stand up as a beacon of intelligence in a world obsessed with guns, money and bling. When he and Mos went their separate ways, Kweli hooked up with skilled producer Hi-Tek to form the group Reflection Eternal. As his respect grew — even Jay-Z namechecked him on a verse — he attracted major label attention, leading to the proper solo album Quality. While not an earth-shattering cross-over, the record did cement Kweli’s position as one of the most esteemed rappers of his generation. He’s only continued to prove he deserves that recognition over the course of his career, while remaining true to the principles he has based his life on. Kweli performs at SLO Brew in San Luis Obispo on September 3.
SLO Brew, 1119 Garden St., San Luis Obispo, 543-184