Talib Kweli takes the animated approach for his latest video off of Prisoner of Conscious, his fifth solo album, released earlier this month. The flick offers a modern take on an ancient love affair between an Egyptian Queen and an Anubis, the jackal-headed creature associated with mummification and protection of the dead. The protagonist could simply want to protect the object of his affection, who he see’s in the stars at night, or he could be elevating himself above the rest of his city’s men. The city of Cynopolis, who worshiped an Anubis like god, is known in Greek as the “city of dogs.”
Director Galen Pehrson bring his signature manipulation of hallucinatory illusions, as the two love birds (dogs, queens, gods, who knows) send hieroglyphic text messages to one another that physically seep out of their cell phones as glowing plasmic orbs and into the ether around them. The cover of Prisoner of Conscious shows Talib’s name written in Kufic, the oldest calligraphic form of the arabic scripts, and the video here acts as another send up to ancient times and writings.
The song itself is soulful and soothing. Produced by Sean C and LV, it offers a smooth 70’s feel that Talib said he was looking for after hearing much of the producers’ work on American Gangster. “I reached out to them because I really liked the production on that album,” Talib told NPR. “They gave me a track that felt like Motown, felt like Marvin Gaye. But it’s still got 808s in it. It’s still upbeat. So it still works for today. Miguel picked that track out of all the tracks I was working with, and he definitely came on and sounded like Marvin Gaye, which I think is a great thing because it’s great to pay tribute to those who came before us.”