Right About Now

Talib Kweli

Koch Records, 2005


REVIEW BY: Ben Ehrenreich


Who is more consistent than Talib Kweli?

The answer is pretty much no one. Sadly, I am going to open up the review by saying I was disappointed by this album.

Right About Now is not a bad album; actually, it’s quite good. The problem is that it’s just good, nothing more, not an improvement on his last three masterpieces.

I know the saying “familiarity breeds contempt” will play a part in this, but it’s true. Talib is one of the most talented MCs out there, and I can only be disappointed that he has not taken his music to the next level. Talib is capable of making an my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Illamtic-like album and, quite frankly, he hasn’t put out a better album than the one he did with producer Hi-Tek in 2000.

Talib receives some help on Right About Now with appearances by Papoose, Mos Def, MF Doom, Jean Grae, Phil Da Agony and Planet Asia. The problem with these guest appearances is the lesser-known acts end up upstaging Talib on his own album. Actually, the best performance on this album isn’t by Talib, but by Papoose on “The Beast,” which starts off with an absolute mixtape sensation massacre. Talib also delivers probably his best verse on the album, but fails to compare with Papoose, although the latter brings out the best in the former.

“Fly That Knot” with MF Doom and “Supreme Supreme” with Mos Def should be incredible songs. They both have two of the best beats on the album and contain two very formidable MCs. Yet they fail to live up to their potential. Talib also sometimes rambles on this album when he takes his verses in no particular direction, which is pretty uncharacteristic of him, as evidence on “Who Got It”.

The album starts off with the title track and Talib sets the record straight with a brief history lesson that starts off the record nicely and segues into “Drugs, Basketball & Rap.” The latter is another great song, but Talib is once again shown up, this time by underground MC Planet Asia.

 “Where Ya Gonna Run” is another banger that again shows Talib being upstaged for a third time by the heiress to Lauryn Hill’s crown, Jean Grae. This track contains almost exactly the same beat as 9th’s “Hiding Place” on The Minstrel Show, which I found odd, but I guess Nas was right with “No Idea’s Original.”

Out of the 12 tracks, nine will cure your appetite for some good hip-hop, and maybe even eleven if you just listen to the dope production of “Fly That Not” and “Supreme Supreme.” The problem is that Talib is capable of much more than just nourishing us; next time, I want to be stuffed.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2007 Ben Ehrenreich and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Koch Records, and is used for informational purposes only.