Even in hip-hop--a genre famous for auspicious debuts--Black Star, the first album from the team of Mos Def and Talib Kweli, stands out. It's not just because these guys know their history (an update of Slick Rick's classic "Children's Story," a fine jack of BDP's "The P Is Free" on "Definition," and shout-outs to 2Pac, Biggie, and the Rock Steady Crew) and have paid their dues. Mos Def had been bouncing around the Native Tongues family for years, and both he and Kweli are featured on the Soundbombing and Lyricist Lounge albums. No, Black Star stands out simply because it's a great album, an intelligent, progressive, and funky piece of work that showcases two great MCs, both of whom have internalized the best parts of Guru, Rakim, and Q-Tip. The album also features strong production from Shawn J. Period and DJ Hi-Tek (Kweli's partner in Reflection Eternal). --Randy Silver
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Mos Def & Talib Kweli are like the Batman & Robin of this rap ish... besides Rae
and Ghost. With Hi-Tek on the boards, the conscious flows of Black Star bring
that natural chemistry that rap so desperately needed for a hot minute. While
each MC can obviously hold their own, the pairing is undeniably dope and five to
ten years from now you will wish you never slept on this duo.