Talib Kweli’s latest project, Prisoner of Conscious, may, in fact be reflective of his stance towards being typecast as a particular artist.

“I don’t consider myself as a prisoner of anything,” explained Kweli in an interview with VladTV. “Clearly, I do songs with Nelly,” he added, laughing.

However, Kweli is aware of attempts to label an categorize him. “Clearly, other people in this business, whether it be consumers or fans, or more importantly, the labels or the media, have the need to label me and package me as a conscious artist.”

“I’m not special. They don’t just do it for me. Everybody get a label applied to them,” conceded Kwe, before adding, “But it’s a matter of how much you live up to that label, and how much you accept whatever label someone else has given to you.”

“The conscious rapper label correctly applies to me, because I am a conscious rapper,” he explained. “…But this industry has demonized the term ‘consciousness,’ and has demonized  the idea of positive message and music that can move people in a different direction other than debauchery.”

Kweli explained that he embraces the challenge of making positive music, but that the label placed upon him is limiting nonetheless. “That’s why I fight against that label. That’s why I fight against being put in that box, because the people who strive to put me in that box… are limiting the audience that can hear my music.”

Watch the interview below:

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