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Talib Kweli Lectures at St. John’s University

If Lil B’s lecture at New York University last month has you perpetually shaking your head and facepalming, perhaps Talib Kweli’s recent talk at St. John’s University can revive your faith in rappers giving speeches at credible universities.

Brooklyn’s Kweli is a seasoned artist who has been in the hip-hop game for 17 years. He’s well known for his involvement in Black Star with Mos Def but has found success in his solo career as well. Kweli’s credentials are more rousing than those of the self-proclaimed BASEDGOD and so its no surprise that Lil B’s attempt paled in comparison to veteran Kweli’s delivery on April 24.

As New York Daily News reports, Kweli took the stage “without any notes or prompts” and spoke confidently in front of hundreds of students about hip-hop music and its history.

Watch the lecture below and read some of our favorite quotes from the talk…

Kweli spoke for nearly thirty minutes and then opened the floor for a Q & A. Some of our favorite quotes from the speech:

• “The best artist is a follower of the people. The best artist is a voice of his trouble.”

• “If the type of music that you like is not being played on the radio, it’s not necessarily a conspiracy to keep you down.”

• “It’s about the packages, and the containers, and the boxes, and the mediums in which you deliver something.”

• “Can hip-hop really be a vehicle for social change? Certainly.”

• “I’m very much a student of hip-hop, and I owe hip-hop a lot, but I can’t look at myself in the context of hip-hop when it comes to solving the problems in our community. It’s no accident that I always use the words ‘vehicle’ or ‘tool’ for hip-hop. You won’t hear my say, ‘I live and die for hip-hop,’ you know what I’m saying? I don’t live and die for hip-hop. You know, the problems in our communities are so much deeper than an artist or an art form can do to solve…”

•” I could go on and on about how you should support conscious artists. I think you should, but I think it’s way more important to support conscious movements, conscious people that would inspire conscious art.”

•” I don’t think hip-hop can ever be dead because there’s so much hip-hop that we’re not hearing…that’s not being taken into account. And also, me, as an artist, I know I’m still alive.”


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