Being a nerd used to be frowned upon. Talib Kweli, though, considers himself and some of rap’s elite rhymers nerds. “I most definitely know Biggie was a nerd,” Talib told Fuse. “His life situation led him to a street life, but he was able to put words together like that. He was a street nerd…Jay-Z is hustle nerd. Nas is Queensbridge nerd. Everybody’s a nerd in their own way.”
Talib Kweli, who feels as though he’s been pigeonholed, hence the title of his new Prisoner Of Conscious album, has long been connected to fellow Brooklynite Jay-Z. He was famously referenced by Jigga on The Black Album cut “Moment Of Clarity” in 2003. Jay-Z rapped, “If skills sold, truth be told, I’d probably be lyrically Talib Kweli.” A year earlier, Hov also appeared on Talib Kweli’s “Get By” remix.
Elsewhere in the Fuse interview, Talib said that Jay-Z put an emphasis on hustling and getting money, though the two shared a quest for lyrical supremacy. “I think there’s a top-tier, upper echelon of lyricism,” the BK MC said. “Jay-Z’s in it and I’m in it, too…He said he would do what I do. If the world was different, he would do what I do. If the world was different, maybe I would do what he did…I think I got in respect what he got in wealth.”
For fans waiting for a Black Star reunion project, Talib said that he and Mos Def haven’t gotten together to finish a follow-up to 1998’s self-titled album yet. He said they work on music organically and may release material in the future, as they did in 2011 with “You Already Knew.”