After getting on “Poltergeist Remix ,” a track with Gucci Mane, Talib Kweli faced some criticism. Part of that criticism came from TheLoop21’s Mychal Smith, in an article titled “The Demise of the Conscious Rapper.” Within the article, Smith wrote that “[Kweli] wants to serve everyone…I understand not wanting to be singularly defined, but when you try to be everything to everyone you end up being nothing to no one.” Once Kweli read the piece, he replied with a letter of his own, speaking on his new album and why he is “a man and an artist of the people.”
“I have been working on my new album, Prisoner Of Conscious since the summer began. It is a title I have had floating in my head for quite some time, but it is even more relevant right now. Hip Hop is like bipartisan politics these days. Everyone chooses sides and argues for the sake of the argument, not to actually achieve any clarity.”
He also spoke on why it’s important for him to reach a varied group of people.
“I am a man and an artist of the people. When I say that, I do not just mean people I agree with, people who understand me or people I can relate to. I mean the people in the truest sense of the term. This philosophy, although professed by many intellectuals, is lost on them. They would rather judge the masses as a foolish body, greatly in need of their intellectual musings. Any public figure who attracts a crowd of people should be examined, and if they are smart about their business they are to be respected. Respect transcends personal taste, you can and often should respect your enemy.”
In a direct message to Smith, the writer who posted “The Demise,” Kweli added his take.
“Now I don’t know Mychal Smith, but what I do know is he is a blogger that follows me on Twitter, and I guess my decision to record with Gucci Mane bothered him enough to blog about it, declaring my move a part of the demise of the conscious rapper. I offer a different take. I say people like Mychal Smith are every bit as caught up in the flashing lights as the ‘ignorant’ masses they like to judge. Instead of celebrating it, they get joy from speaking against it. They truly believe not liking Gucci Mane makes them intellectually superior to say, some chic down south. They pay so much attention to what they perceive to be negative, based on a limited world view, that they miss the positive, even when it’s right in their face.”
No word on when Kweli’s Prisoner of Conscious will be released.