Brooklyn rapper Talib Kweli has stepped forward to offer a reaction to being showered with accolades courtesy of longtime friend Kanye West in a new, rare New York Times interview.
Rather than take credit for helping mold Ye, Kweli boasted about the Chicago rapper’s growth and immense love for the craft.
“When he talks about being able to write a song like ‘All Falls Down’ in 15 minutes [because of] hanging out with people like myself and Dead Prez, he’s telling you more about himself than about us,” Talib said. “He’s telling you about his technique.” Kweli said there wasn’t a specific moment or instance where Kanye tapped into his writing power; it was more that young Yeezy absorbed what was around, and at the time he happened to be around some of rap’s most progressive and well-skilled MCs. “He wakes up, he writes rhymes, he says the rhyme to whoever wants to listen and he keeps improving on it. He asks for advice, that’s what he does,” Kwe continued. “He always strives to be the best and to him it is about technique.” (MTV)
In his New York Times chat, Mr. West publicly credited Kweli, amongst other rappers, for helping him unleash his inner self into raps.
“I used to have tracks that sounded like Timbaland; I had tracks that sounded like [DJ Premier]. But Jay-Z was an amazing communicator that made the soul sound extremely popular. And because I could make the soul sound in my sleep, it finally gave me a platform to put the message that my parents put inside of me and that Dead Prez helped to get out of me and Mos Def and [Talib] Kweli, they helped to get out of me: I was able to put it, sloppily rap it, on top of the platform that Jay-Z had created for me.” (New York Times)
Last month, Talib recalled his early rhyming days hitting stages alongside Kanye.
“He would cut me off during my shows,” Kweli explained. “So when I see him do it to Taylor Swift, I’m like ‘Oh, that’s what he used to do to me. He literally would come on stage while I was rapping and stop the music and say, ‘Yo, I gotta kick this rhyme. And I would have to be like, ‘Yo, you can’t, this is my show.’ But that’s how passionate he is about the music.” (Paul J Cantor)
He also stood up for Ye in light of him receiving negative attention and dicey criticism on a regular basis.
“He’s done some things that have been looked at as arrogant, and I’m sure that he’s dealing with them,” he said. “And he’s done some things that he’s apologized for. He also said George Bush don’t care about black people. He’s also done some revolutionary things. At the end of the day those positives and negatives are what make him the great artist that he is. And I can tell you from first hand experiences that he didn’t change… The way he is now, he was like that before the money and the fame. He was talking about he was the best producer; ‘I’m the best rapper,’ ‘I’m the best dresser.’ His attitude was exactly the same.” (Paul J Cantor)