One of the many benefits of Twitter: learning about new music. I follow several artists, and this week two of them Tweeted new music. First, Talib Kweli’s new video for “State of Grace” with singer Abbie Dobson (the n-word a few times, but this is mellow stuff, I promise):
If you’re looking to get into hip hop, I can’t think of any better place to start than Kweli. He’s lyric-focused, so his rapping is generally very clear (you’re not going to have to strain to hear what he’s saying), and he has the sort of distinctly East Coast style that I’ve always thought was more accessible. He also likes to work with great producers, particularly his good friend and partner in crime Hi Tek, often rapping over beds that make good instrumentals on their own, so even if you don’t want to follow the lyrics there will be something to groove to. Plus he collaborates with everyone, East Coast, West Coast, Southern, Midwestern, doesn’t matter. He seems to enjoy working with young artists to increase their exposure, and he made an entire R&B album with singer Res just because he thought it was a crime that she was less successful than she was (and it’s a great album!). So going through his catalogue would give you a pretty good sense of what hip hop’s about.
This isn’t the first new track that I’ve learned about from his Twitter feed, either. A couple months he Tweeted this song, with Rah Digga (from Wednesday’s women in hip hop post) and Black Thought:
The other music I learned about this week came from Kendrick Lamar, who Tweeted that label-mate SZA’s debut album, Z, was now available. Lamar has a verse on one of the songs, Babylon, but I have to admit I like the version that was released last month without the Lamar verse:
I have no idea how to describe that. I mean, it’s a little bit electronic, a little bit hip hop, a little bit R&B, and a lot young. I suppose my description would be, “This is youth.” As I said, this is from SZA’s first full-length release, and it’s clearly the work of an artist in the process of growing into herself, but I’ve enjoyed what I’ve heard so far (in the last 24 hours), and I’m certain my son will love it.
Any new music in your life? How do you learn about it?