Talib Kweli sat down with Aiko Tanaka for an in-depth interview, the latest in her I Don’t Camouflage series. In 8 minutes and some seconds Kweli talks about balancing his roles as artist and activist with being a father (and compulsive Homeland viewer, apparently)–and generally being more strategic and adjusting the way he does things as he gets older. Specifically he talks about coming out the other side of ‘The Red Stage’ of revolutionary consciousness where the main activities are a) soaking in information and b) getting mad about it. He also speaks at length on how his frequent collaborator Jean Grae has influenced his own approach to making art.
At the other end of the interview spectrum, MTV just released this clip of Kweli being questioned about the impresario formerly known as Sean “Puffy” Combs (that’s Diddy if you’re under the age of 18) and his differences with Mos Def (that’s Yasiin if you’re under the age of 2) about his version of “Children’s Story” which seem to directly reference Puff and Notorious B.I.G. within the lyrics of its cautionary tale. Watching both interviews back to back really highlights two completely different approaches to rap journalism. But on the other hand taken together the two feel like book-ends on the same discussion; the problematic division between ‘conscious’ and ‘commercial rap’–and how its changed over the years. Food for thought and of course, very much at the heart of the themes explored in Kweli’s forthcoming album, aptly title Prisoner of Conscious. Watch below and then below: