There’s no star that shines quite as bright as a black star, just ask Mos Def, Talib Kweli and DJ Blaqstarr. All three gifted artists have chosen the name to represent their music, but with both acts gearing up to drop new albums this year, Mass Appeal can see how this can confuse listeners. For those who aren’t familiar with these particular astrological sounds, MA is proud to present our map to the stars. Far out, dude.
|Releases:||Albums: Mos Def and Talib Kweli are Black Star (1998), Singles: “Definition” (1998), “Respiration” (1999), “Fix Up” (2011)|
|Movie Soundtracks:||The Hurricane (1999), Block Party (2005)|
|Label:||Rawkus (1998-2000), Javotti Media (2011-present)|
|Meaning Behind Name:||The group’s name was a reference to Black activist Marcus Garvey’s Black Star Line, a shipping company that was established in 1919 to transport goods and African-Americans back to their homeland.|
|Producers:||DJ Hi-Tek, Madlib, J Dilla, Oh No, Shawn J. Period, Geology, J. Rawls, 88 Keys, Da Beatminerz|
|Affiliation With M.I.A.:||None|
|Most Common Terms Used to Describe Style:||“Socially Conscious,” “Lyrical,” “Boom Bap,” “Incense,” “Backpack,” “True-School,” “Okayplayer”|
|Rock The Bells Credentials:||Performed on the RTB stage in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2011|
|Star Quality:||Mos Def – ★★★★ out of Five ★
Mos is household name due to acting roles in The Italian Job, 16 Blocks, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a hosting role on Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry on HBO, a stint on Dexter, multiple appearances on Chappelle’s Show as well as two critically acclaimed solo albums (Black on Both Sides and The Ecstatic – let’s not mention his other two albums). The only reason he didn’t score a perfect score is because of his name change last year to Yasiin Bey. Bey has yet to become a household name.
Talib Kweli – ★ ★ ½ out of Five ★
While Kwe hasn’t crossed over outside of music as his partner-in-rhyme, he continues to advocate for social causes for the common man and woman. He did manage to score a massive single with the Kanye West produced single “Get By” in 2003 and a career defining cosign from Jay-Z on “Moment of Clarity,” where Hov rapped, “If skilled sold/ truth be told/ I’d probably be/lyrically Talib Kweli”
Combined: ★★★¼ out of Five ★
|Releases:||Superstarr (2007), King of Roq (2008), Blaqstarr: The Mixtape (2011), Divine EP (2011)|
|Movie Soundtracks:||Luv (2012), Magic Mike (2012)|
|Label:||Mad Decent (2007-unknown), N.E.E.T/Interscope (2011-present)|
|Meaning Behind Name:||Unknown|
|Affiliation With M.I.A.:||Helped to write and produce M.I.A.’s second and third albums (2007’s KALA and 2010’s MAYA), including her breakthrough hit “Paper Planes,” introduced Rye Rye (whom he discovered) to M.I.A. and is signed to the singer’s N.E.E.T label on Interscope|
|Most Common Terms Used to Describe Style:||“B-more Club,” “Dirty,” “Fast,” “Experimental,” “Catchy”|
|Rock The Bells Credentials:||Rocked the RTB crowd in 2008|
|Star Quality:||★★ out of Five ★
The multi-talented Blaq has yet to achieve any mainstream solo success outside of his hometown, but with such big name supporters as M.I.A. and Diplo and a debut, dance-friendly full-length album, Here We Are, set to hit stores this fall backed by the Interscope machine, he has a chance of finally reaching super stardom.
What we really love about this story, is these OG Black Star guys co-signing young Blaqstarr with cold hard collaborations.
Blaqstarr feat. Talib Kweli “War of Roses”
Blaqstarr feat. Mos Def “Kiss Me On My Lips”