The title cut of Gutter Rainbows, Talib Kweli’s newest solo effort, features big production, with Kwe’s signature rapid-fire flow on full blast. From this cut comes a line that underscores the meaning of the album: “Rainbows in the gutter, the pain you will discover will make the angels shudder.” For those who believe in pink hearts, yellow moons, blue stars , green clovers and such, Kweli adds, “It aint’ no pot of gold” [at the end of, or over the rainbow].The title track, (produced by M-Phazes) sets the tone for the rest of the project that finds Talib offering Kwelity output and insightful social commentary over warm, live tracks. The verbal combinations fly furiously and constantly hit their mark.
On “So Low” (produced by Shuko), the sample is so sweet. The gospel choir backing Talib’s distinctive, innate intonation take it to the mountaintop to deliver his “Hostile Gospel.” He calibrates his flow to fit in perfect lockstep with the plodding thump of the track. The line in the hook “I can get so low that I can feel the gravity in the world around me” is exquisite in its honesty and palpable texture.
On “Palookas” (produced by Marco Polo) featuring BCC’s Sean Price, they bring out the heavy artillery. The song’s strings possess an urgency that drives this Brooklyn bangout off the rails. The track gets groped, fondled, manipulated, finessed, and blessed. This cut continues Kweli’s penchant for collaborating with dope Brooklyn cats (Mos Def, Cocoa Brovas, etc.). Sean comes through recklessly and straight Debos this jawn.
Gutter Rainbows is a well rounded effort, and includes a jazzy sensibility alongside the more minimal, raw hip hop. “Wait for You,” featuring Kendra Ross, is introspective, and intense with subject matter that emotes the same sentimental vibe as that of the music that he listened to as a child.
Talib is artistically in another place. He’s in his own zone. Believe me, he knows his niche, “I have a model, a non-radio-play model that works for me.
On “Uh-Oh,” (produced by Oh-No) Jean Grae breathes fire with linguistic dexterity and a seemingly insatiable hunger. She goes in for 24 bars of madness. Kweli pitches cleanup and does-what-he-does – completely wrecks it.
“Self Savior” featuring Chace Infinite brings fiery sermon live from the corner pulpit. The track, produced by trumpet master Maurice Brown, exudes an undeniably sentimental, emotional feel. Talib falls right into an effortless cadence, fully harnessing the essence of the track. Chace strongly compliments this cut.
Gutter Rainbows may not be promoted heavily due to its independent release, but it should be rotated heavily in our MP3’s, it’s a definite win for the listener/consumer.