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Talib Kweli Biography:

Talib Kweli Greene, better known as Talib Kweli, is an African-American emcee from Brooklyn, New York. His first name in Arabic means “student” or “seeker”; his middle name in Swahili means “true”. Kweli first gained recognition through Black Star, a collaboration with fellow MC Mos Def.

In 2004, Talib Kweli, along with Bob Moore’s Amazing Mongrels, supported the Beastie Boys on their “Challah At Your Boy World Tour,” participated in a photo shoot by the amateur photographer Ben Fink Shaprio, and appeared in a few Dilated Peoples songs, including a live remix later featured on the video game NBA Street Vol. 2.

Talib Kweli Booking Agent

Kweli has used television appearances extensively to increase visibility, notably on MTV’s Wild ‘N Out, and several performances on Chappelle’s Show with long-time collaborator Mos Def; these performances were a product of host Chappelle’s friendship with Kweli. Chappelle in turn participated in a number of skits on Kweli’s albums “Train of Thought” and “Quality”- impersonating several people including Nelson Mandela. Kweli also had a guest spot on Kanye West’s widely successful debut album on the track “Get ‘Em High”. West has produced some of Kweli’s songs, including his biggest commercial hit “Get By”. West also includes a nod to Kweli on the song “Breathe in, Breathe Out” from his album “The College Dropout”. The lyrics read: “Golly more of this bullshit ice rap/ I got to ‘pologize to Mos and Kweli”, an acknowledgement of Kweli’s meaningful message spread while part of Blackstar. Kweli can be seen in a commercial for the NCAA’s Big Ten Conference, rapping about the league’s basketball teams. He also provided the voice of the protagonist in the graffiti-themed video game Marc Eckō’s Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure, released in 2006.

Talib and fellow rapper artist Mos Def purchased Nkiru, which is Brooklyn’s oldest black-owned bookstore, and converted it into the Nkiru Center for Education and Culture.

Kweli’s stature continued to grow, particularly fueled by a line from the track “Moment of Clarity” on Jay-Z’s 2003 record, The Black Album:

“If skills sold, truth be told/I’d probably be, lyrically, Talib Kweli.” Kweli responded to this in his track “Ghetto Show” on his 2004 album The Beautiful Struggle by stating “If lyrics sold then truth be told/I’d probably be just as rich and famous as Jay Z.

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