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'Gotham' Talib Kweli x Diamond D Album Review

Talib Kweli spits fierce lyricism over a selection of carefully crafted beats from Diamond D

As a Hip-Hop listener I used to have an extremely unbalanced view on the genre. I paid no attention to the instrumental of a song, to the point of awful production going totally over my head. Lyricism was what I cared about. I wanted to listen to a Hip-Hop track and be moved by the lyrics or learn from them; this is something Talib Kweli definitely fulfils for his listeners. I began taking an interest in producers and their talents about five years ago, which is when I started to create playlists of talented producer's entire production credits. This is what leads me onto 'Gotham', the new album from the HipHop veteran duo: Talib Kweli and Diamond D. When the album was announced, I was ecstatic. This project was for sure going to be amazing. However, I truly f*****d it. I didn't know what Diamond D looked like, trusted an INCORRECT article I found online and posted about the upcoming album with an image of Eric Sermon. Wow, congratulations Nicholas, you're a moron. Needless to say I have carefully checked every post I have released on this album since. Moving on from my stupidity, let's take a look at the tracks.

Sons of Gotham

The opening track immediately forces you to bob your head. Some nice bass thumping through the speakers, as well as piano keys coming through in the background of the hook. Talib Kweli is unstoppable here, filling the track with boasts about his lyrical abilities and how he excels over his contemporaries. As well as creating a nod to several Hip-Hop greats, including Diamond D.

Make 'em live for Diamond D specifically Now you was hatin', money, keep the same energy Ayo, it's tragic how these men spill they guts in my lane They just bugs on the windshield Going splat on the highway


'Olympic' opens with moody guitar riffs, making room for Talib to do what he does best. Bass thuds quickly follow as Talib starts the first verse. He raps about being a nerd of Hip-Hop, the state of the genre today, and even claims half the rappers today are worthless. This is justified in the hook where Talib explains he looks at Hip-Hop like an olympic sport, which you can very much see in the way he goes about his career.

Olympic 'Cause we do it for sport Olympic 'Cause we carry the torch Olympic 'Cause we playing to win Olympic Now let the m***********g games begin

The Quiet One

In this track, Talib raps about being the voice of the people over a smooth Diamond D beat that makes it impossible to keep your head from bouncing.

What have I become I was never the quiet one Been the voice of the people for my entire run From 1991, that's when I begun

Busta Rhymes jumps on the track, offering a complex verse as expected. Both rappers sounds great on the this track. This is one of my favourite songs on the project.

On Mamas

'On Mamas' opens with a skit about never leaving Brooklyn, giving the listener an idea of what's to come. The beat is wavy with a lot going on, and gives space for Talib to rap slightly faster than he was prior to this track. He also offers up a very smooth hook that's not to be missed.

Attention Span

Talib Kweli raps very well over this instrumental. Diamond D has provided a really interesting beat, with a lot going on. I feel the pair's chemistry comes off strongest on this track, with such a strong beat, a great feature from Skyzoo and Talib Kweli dropping some solid lines to challenge your mind including:

Am I privileged enough to die from natural causes?

In Due Time

Niré Alldai opens 'In Due Time', and takes over the first minute of the song. After a short period, the beat really kicks in with it's bass and piano keys laced across the track. At this point, Niré moves into the hook of the song, which is a pleasure on the ears. Talib then raps about confessing to sins, resulting in his own confessions and bars about false allegations thrown at him. Throughout the song Niré Alldai continues to feature, and continues demonstrating why she was the right choice for the track.

Pick Your Head Up

This track opens with a skit of someone being racist towards a person of colour. The track is all about picking your head up after experiencing racism. The hook of the song is extremely repetitive, literally repeating 'pick your head up' over and over. However, what Talib is saying on the track is a must-listen. Despite a repetitive hook, do not skip this track!

Chillin While Black

The beat of this track feels quite grand with trumpets pumping and a bass thud paired to it. Throughout the entire song Talib raps about police harassment, with the hook emphasising the he:

Might just get arrested for chillin' while black

Diamond D even jumps on the mic himself, spitting a strong verse and having his say on a topic close to their hearts.

I'll Tell Ya Later

The beat Diamond D provides us with here reminds me of crime music used in comical detective programmes like the pink panther. The song follows the idea of being interrogated across your career. NIKO IS opens the song, offering a very different, and interesting feature.

You living on the internet, that's meta-data, you not an innovator Me and Kweli the student with the educator

This is followed by another solid verse from Talib Kweli.

The Fold

To close the album, Talib Kweli and Diamond D offer a smooth track. The beat is filled with strings and horns, and Talib rhymes just as well as he has across the rest of the tracklist.

Talib Kweli and Diamond D have teamed up to release a very strong body of work, no less than what we all expect from them by this point. If you're into old school Hip-Hop you should already have listened to this album. To all those who haven't listened to 'Gotham' yet, don't miss out, you'd be a fool to ignore this project.

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