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The Black Star is Back!

Back in 1997, two of the most underrated poetic rappers to come out of Brooklyn, New York formed the Hip Hop duo, Black Star. Yasiin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def and Talib Kweli released a number of singles and one album. Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star on August 26, 1998. The title was a reference to the Black Star Line which was a shipping line founded by Pan-Africanist Marcus Garvey. The album dealt with modern issues, philosophical ideas, and life in Brooklyn as the two artists knew it. That record was able to receive critical acclaim, but not a lot of commercial success. Both artists worked separately for a while finding their own success, rightfully, but were able to work together on soundtracks and other projects throughout the years.

Most recently in 2017, both MC’s announced an international tour but there was no word on whether it would lead to an album, or if they were promoting an upcoming album. However in February 2018, Yassin Bey made an announcement on stage that a new Black Star album is set to be released in 2018. The album is to be produced by Madlib, who has produced for Freddie Gibbs and MF Doom, and is a critically acclaimed Hip Hop producer from the early 2000s. No specific date was given on the release of the album, but people who know and understand the influence of Black Star, just based on their first album, are ready and excited for their greatness to make a comeback.

September of this year will mark the 20th anniversary of Black Star’s only record and it would be amazing if the release of the album was set around that time in order to pay homage to the first one. I have doubts that this second album will reach commercial success because of how underground the first album was. If they reached out to new artists like Joey Bada$$ or Kendrick Lamar it would help reach the younger audience. As long as they keep their authentic sound of being, essentially, news reporters of the Brooklyn streets (especially if they reach out to Brooklyn native Joey Bada$$) I could see semi- commercial success of a few singles getting radio play.

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