Whether you’re digging the new surprise rap album phenomenon or not, the fact remains it eliminates all pre-release anticipation, but if there is a true hip-hop artist who doesn’t necessarily need all the talk and buzz to promote him or herself at this stage in the game, it’s Talib Kweli. The Brooklyn emcee of Black Star and Reflection Eternal, who stays relevant with his unique lyrical delivery and important subject matter, has returned to hold over fans waiting for his Radio Silence LP with another project, his free of charge F*ck The Money album.
Named after its capitalism-critical title track, F*ck The Money is much more than disapproval of the financially driven machine of our state of The Union. In it, Talib and his guests celebrate love, knowledge and logical, rational intuition and slam police brutality, unsubstantial rappers and unsavory celebrity profiles and antics. In “Gratitude,” Kweli opens by paying homage and respect to his passed Brooklyn homie, the late Pumpkinhead emcee, and after and around that tribute, he goes full bore into the pressing issues.
Like before, Talib Kweli pleasurably barrages us with his enlightening lyrical blitzkrieg of explosive rhyme-material, and some new flavors of collaboration boost the album’s artistic integrity. Reputable artists Miguel, Patrick Stump, Cassper Nyovest, Styles P from The LOX, Nire, Steffanie Christi’an, Kendra Ross, NIKO IS and TDE’s Ab-Soul all give F*ck The Money different but also traditional vocal styles for Talib Kweli to further vary his working relationships. The Age of Aquarius sounds, jazzy boom bap and soul flourishes that make up Talib’s musical stock in trade are present, complimented by a different spin on drill and some other new beat traits. These accomplished pieces come from producers Thanks Joey, Amadeus, Farhot, Kaytranada, Abhi//Dijon and The Alchemist.
F*ck The Money is a musical retreat back to values and dignity and is arguably Talib Kweli’s best and most important release since Revolutions Per Minute (the second Reflection Eternal album). It berates the profit-fixated culture of the “free” first world countries, especially America, and picks at just some of the other fixable problems in these wealthy yet soul-withered United States. With great Kweli-verses, great guests, great music-production and great value (free!), F*ck The Money really does f*ck the money instead of the money f*cking it, a pure model of how we’re all meant to live, from deep within our inner sanctums to our warm, kind outreach.