Singled Out: "Busta Rhymes Chose That RZA Beat, He Was Like 'Yo, I'm Jumping On That!'"

Tuesday, May 14, 2013 2:45AM

Written by SOHH for Talib Kweli

[SOHH highlights a hot record each Tuesday and offers a unique look at the track in Singled Out. After Franco Anthony broke down Joell Ortiz's "Giant Killah" anthem, New York rap veteran Talib Kweli takes off with his Busta Rhymes-assisted "Rocket Ships" track.]

Busta Rhymes is a good friend of mine. He's someone I've worked with and spent a lot of time hanging out with but we've never actually had an official song that we worked on together and put out.

We had some mixtape things we'd done before but nothing official. It was overdue.

I was hanging out with Busta, talking to him about my new album and he's like, 'Yo, why don't you ever put me on your albums?' And I was like, 'You know what? Yo, I don't know. You're so close to me that I'm kind of spoiled. It never even crossed my mind.'

He's on the 'Get By' remix and things that we've put out on mixtapes, but, for him to actually be on my album, I made sure to play the beats right then and there. He chose that RZA beat. I had recorded my first verse to that beat and so I played it for him and he was like, 'Yo, I'm jumping on that!'

He didn't jump on it immediately. He sent it to me about a week later. And then when he sent it to me, he sent it with the skit in it, with the whole 'Bacon' skit in it. I had no idea he was doing that.

That goes to show you what type of artist he is, that he's such a visionary, he's thinking above and beyond a verse. He's thinking about how the record will fit onto the album, how it'll sit with fans, how it can be more universal. He's thinking on all those levels spontaneously.

The Brooklyn-based rapper earned his stripes as one of the most lyrically-gifted, socially aware and politically insightful rappers to emerge in the last 20 years. His travels around the globe as one of rap's most in-demand performers combined with his conversations with political activists and his genre-straddling work with Idle Warship and others caused Kweli to realize that he was limited in a sense, a prisoner of sorts of his own success as one of the world's best rappers with something significant to say.

Check out "Rocket Ships":

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