Black Star::HoB Chicago::09/23/11
I don’t know where Talib Kweli and Mos Def get their time. It has been said that in the current state of the music industry you have to be a shark – that you must always swim or drown – and if that’s the case these two are makos.
Talib Kweli has garnered a reputation as the MC’s MC. At 35 years of age he has already released four solo albums, five with collaborators, be it Mos Def, Hi-Tek, or much-respected underground hip-hop producer Madlib, and a slew of mixtapes, singles, and guest appearances.
Mos Def at 37 has also released four solo albums and a slew of collaborative works, but also has amassed a respected resume as an actor, be it on stage or film.
Together the two released an album to critical acclaim, 1998′s Mos Def and Talib Kweli are Black Star. Reuniting to revisit that material and then some, the two put on an amazing showcase of their talent on Friday night in Chicago. Of the two shows the duo were to put on that night, I went to catch the first show. I’m not the world’s foremost authority on live hip-hop, but I’ve seen more than enough shows to know the good from the bad. This was the great. Starting with their famed DJ, J. Rocc of the legendary Beat Junkies, and ending with Mos and Talib being joined by Chicago’s best (my opinion), Common, this set will not soon fade from memory.
The cool part for me as a Shure person was that the stage mics were all Super 55s, all of them custom paint jobs. This started with Mos Def about two years ago, when he requested a Super 55 with a gloss black cage and red foam insert, and another with an inverted scheme, which he has most frequently used. Prior to this tour, Talib came in to another two custom Super 55s – one matte white with red foam and the other a gloss green with a yellow foam insert. After their first set we sat down for an interview (subscribe to Shure’s YouTube channel to see when it posts) and the subject of the mics came up. The two were very happy with the sound they’ve been getting. Mos at one point grabbed Talib’s white/red mic and mentioned how much he dug the scheme. I brought up the green/yellow mic and Talib said he was leaning towards using it for the late show.
Unfortunately for me the late show was going to start well after midnight and I had a looming early morning happening. After wrapping up the interview I thanked them again for the killer show and hit the road.