Way back in 1998, when Yasiin Bey was still calling himself Mos Def, he and Talib Kweli teamed up for an album called Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star, an instant classic of underground rap. In the almost quarter-century since then, the duo has occasionally released new songs together, and for years they’ve been saying they recorded a whole new album produced by Madlib. In 2020, Kweli said the album would never come out. But last year Kweli and Bey premiered one of those new Black Star songs on The Midnight Miracle, their podcast with Dave Chapelle on the subscription service Luminary. And last month came the welcome news that, actually, it would come out, behind a paywall at least.
Today, the new Black Star album has been released exclusively via Luminary. It’s called No Fear Of Time, and its nine tracks include appearances from Black Thought and Yummy Bingham. It was recorded “guerilla-style in hotel rooms and dressing rooms around the globe.” For those who don’t subscribe to Luminary, opening track “oG” is on YouTube:
A new The Midnight Miracle episode called “BUGS BUNNY MATHEMATICX” detailed the album’s origin story and is billed as audio liner notes for the project. The podcast was recorded in Ohio in Summer 2020 and Spring 2021; its guests include Questlove, Michelle Wolf, Niko Is, Narcy, Radio Rahim, Roc Marciano, and Black Thought.
A statement from Kweli:
About 3-4 years ago I was visiting yasiin in Europe and we started to talk about songs to do on an album, so I flew an engineer out just to see what that would be. Once I realized this conversation is starting to organically become a creative conversation, I started making sure to have the engineer around at all times. There was one day we were just in a hotel listening to Madlib beats, and he’s like “Play that Madlib tape again.” I’m playing the beats and he starts doing rhymes to the beats. And that’s how we did the first song.
02 “So be it”
03 “Sweetheart. Sweethard. Sweetodd.”
04 “My favorite band”
05 “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing”
07 “Supreme alchemy”
08 “Freequency” (Feat. Black Thought)
09 “No fear of time” (Feat. Yummy Bingham)
Luminary subscribers can stream No Fear Of Time here.