On Liberation, Talib Kweli's tag-team underground effort with West Coast stalwart Madlib, the BK backpack rap champion is learning a golden lesson: the mainstream isn't made for everyone. And, likewise, everyone isn't welcome to the mainstream. A lesson he learned either after the masses auction of 2002's "Get By” or before its twin two years later, "I Try”. Kweli's rhymes have been evicted tenants, because let's face it, mainstream is a lousy landlord. Inhabiting the underground, Kweli never sounds a bit removed or homesick on Liberation, praising his family nucleus on "Happy Home”. But he is still disturbed by mainstream's property, so keeps an eye out for the stakeholders, (we need some new leaders/politicians is lying/the artists is true divas) on "Over the Counter”.

As a producer, Madlib is an underground staple, but on Liberation he plays more of the role of a the scientist, with daringly refreshing beats. Caught in-between bluesy, bright-tinted, by-the-shore fuzzy, jazzy atoms and industrious instrumental experiments, he serves up a lovely potion for Kweli to drink and spill over his rhymes. The partnership is successful. It looks like mainstream maybe visiting Kweli in the underground, soon. - Rodney Dugue

Songs Mentioned

"Happy Home" - Talib Kweli with Madlib featuring Candice Anderson

"Over The Counter" - Talib Kweli with Madlib