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Monday, Mar 26 2007 | 12:41 Buy this now at GoodToGo (B2B)

Seems Talib Kweli and Madlib resolved to be more generous and giving in 2007, and they’re wasting no time with that. The pair delivers “Liberation”, a nine-track album featuring MC Kweli and producer Madlib. The free download collabo album is now officially available through Talib Kweli’s label Blacksmith.

A lo-fi affair full of soulful samples and plenty of name-dropping on the part of Kweli, “Liberation” includes guest verses from Consequence and Strong Arm Steady and should whet appetites a little bit until Talib drops “Ear Drum”, his previously reported new LP, originally slated for release late last year. It’s now set to land via Kweli’s own Blacksmith imprint, under the mighty Warner Bros. umbrella.

But don’t whet those appetites too much. Wrote Kweli on his MySpace, “Some fans will say [Liberation] is the sound they want to hear from me all the time. If so, congratulations, you got your wish. However, do not use this to speculate what Ear Drum will sound like. It is a different project with different influences.”

Oh, and add kindness to the list of Kweli resolutions. “Shout out to my brother Madlib,” wrote the MC in the same MySpace message, “for being so creative and inspirational, and for giving me a canvas to paint on. This project was inspired by his consistency … In this era of over produced and over marketed product, Madlib leads the pack of independent artists who could care less about all of that.” We’ll toast to that. pitchforkmedia.com

About Talib Kweli:

Talib Kweli is one of the few artists making commercially viable music that matters. The Brooklyn bred rapper’s hard-hitting music has been able to educate and entertain simultaneously. So it is no wonder that at the peak of their fame, both Jay-Z and 50 Cent named Talib Kweli as one of their favorite rappers.

Since his stellar debut with Mos Def as Black Star, Kweli has been one of rap’s most exceptional and consistent artists. Released in 2000, Reflection Eternal, the RIAA-certified gold album with Hi-Tek, was one of the most acclaimed albums of the year. In 2002, smash single “Get By,” the biting political commentary “The Proud” and the insightful examination of America’s gun culture on “Gun Music” made Quality a landmark recording and Kweli’s second gold album. Subsequent recordings in 2004 (The Beautiful Struggle) and 2005 (Right About Now) solidified his status as one of rap’s most talented and important voices.

Now, after establishing himself as a rap visionary, Kweli along with long-time manager Corey Smyth launched Blacksmith Music. The pair signed an exclusive deal with Warner Bros. to market, promote, and distribute the music of Blacksmith artists. Following Kweli’s release on Blacksmith/WBR there will be a new solo album from Jean Grae, the critically acclaimed South African-born female rapper who is among the most respected female rappers in the history of the genre. Rolling Stone called her “the best kept secret on New York’s indie hip-hop scene,” while XXL, Spin, Village Voice, URB and others have labeled her an artist to watch. Strong Arm Steady, a forthcoming Blacksmith/WBR release, is a super group whose members are platinum rapper and Pimp My Ride host Xzibit, Los Angeles underground star Phil The Agony, lyrical assassin Krondon and San Diego rap pioneer Mitchy Slick. Strong Arm Steady has been one of the few West Coast acts to build a rabid fanbase through mixtapes. Kweli hopes Blacksmith will create a movement with Jean Grae and Strong Arm Steady, much as his own music has. “With Blacksmith, I want it to be a flag that everyone can wave,” he says. “I want to be packing shows and I want people to feel like they were up on Jean Grae and Strong Arm Steady before anybody else was.”

More Information: Talib Kweli

About Madlib:

From the unlikely beach town of Oxnard, 40 miles north of Los Angeles, the multi dimensional Madlib quickly rose to prominence as one of the most interesting figures in late-’90s hip-hop. With his childhood buddies in the Lootpack, Madlib quickly made a name for himself as a rapper, producer, and DJ. In particular, his expansive style and deft touch for composition made him one of hip-hop’s most sought-after producers. An enthusiastic crate digger, with a deep reverence for jazz and soul, Madlib branched out into a number of ambitious, engaging solo projects.

Along with DJ Romes and Wild Child, Madlib formed the Lootpack in their hometown of Oxnard. The trio made their debut on Tha Alkaholiks’ “21 and Over” in 1993. They continued doing work for Tha Alkaholiks and other artists before releasing their full-length “Soundpieces: Da Antidote” six years later. The album earned solid reviews but went largely unnoticed. Madlib did not, however. After hooking up with Los Angeles DJ Peanut Butter Wolf, Madlib did a lot of production for Wolf’s Stones Throw label. In 1999 the label released Quasimoto’s astonishing “The Unseen” LP. Doubling as himself and his alter ego Quasimoto, Madlib handled vocals and production duties on the album, a huge critical success. Not resting on his laurels, Madlib followed “The Unseen” a year later with his Yesterday’s New Quintet project. Madlib played all the instruments himself, infusing his exploration of jazz with both style and substance.

While continuing on with a massive release schedule and work load, Madlib completed a remix/reinterpretation project for Blue Note, a collaboration with Jay Dee under the Jaylib alias, a collaboration with MF Doom, produced 1/2 of fellow Lootpack member Wildchild’s solo record and many other remix and producer tasks.

With each new year Madlib has continued to expand his abilities beyond the core hip hop that he is known for.

More Information: Madlib

The album collabo Talib Kweli & MadlibLiberation” (Blacksmith) has been released on March 19, 2007.

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