Black Star (rap duo)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Black Star
Black Star - Ilosaarirock 2012.jpg
Black Star at the 2012 Ilosaarirock festival.
Background information
Origin Brooklyn, New York City, New York, United States
Genres Alternative hip hop[1]
Years active 1997–Present
Labels Rawkus Records
Associated acts Common, Hi-Tek
Members Mos Def
Talib Kweli

Black Star is an American hip hop duo formed in 1997, from Brooklyn, New York City, New York. The duo is composed of rappers Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) and Talib Kweli. They released a number of singles and one album, Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star on August 26, 1998. The record received critical acclaim, but only moderate commercial success. Since then the duo has worked together intermittently on soundtracks and other projects.


Black Star arose from the underground movement of the late 1990s, which was in large part due to Rawkus Records, an independent record label stationed in New York City. They, together with other members of the Native Tongues Posse, helped shape underground alternative rap, bringing it into the mainstream. Both Mos Def and Talib Kweli have gone on to greater commercial and critical success in their solo careers.

Black Star's message on their original album carried a lot of weight, from both their lyrics about social consciousness and political issues as well the strong statement in the wake of the deaths of both Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur in the late 1990s, during which an adolescent hip-hop culture suffered in the vacuum of iconic leadership provided by Smalls and Shakur. Black Star attempted to reconcile these tensions in their songs "Definition" and "Re:Definition" which share the same lyrics on their self-titled album: “I said one, two, three / It’s kinda dangerous to be an emcee / They shot Tupac and Biggie / Too much violence in hip-hop, Y-O

In 2001, Black Star performed "Money Jungle" with Ron Carter and John Patton for the Red Hot Organization's compilation album Red Hot + Indigo, a tribute to Duke Ellington, which raised money for various charities devoted to increasing AIDS awareness and fighting the disease. In 2002, the song "Hater Players" was used in an episode of The Wire, season one episode 10, The Cost. In 2005, hip hop website reported Kweli said that a new Black Star album was "in the pipeline".[1] On Talib Kweli's Myspace he posted up a video saying that "We're going to find Mos Def and put it on camera that there will be a second Black Star album." In 2006, Mos and Kweli appeared together in the movie Dave Chappelle's Block Party, alongside Erykah Badu, Common, Jill Scott, Dead Prez and The Fugees, among others. They contributed a new song, "Born & Raised", to the movie's soundtrack.

The first new Black Star song was leaked via DJ J Rocc from Stones Throw Records. The song is produced by Madlib and is titled "Fix Up". On October 5, 2011 Black Star appeared on the Colbert Report and publicly performed the song for the first time. On November 25, Black Friday "Fix Up" was released on iTunes followed by another song titled "You Already Knew".

In August 2017, they announced an international tour, though with no word on whether this would promote an upcoming album.

In February 2018, Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def) announced, on stage, a new Black Star studio album to be released in 2018. The album will be produced by Madlib. No specific release date was made available.


Studio albums[edit]

List of albums, with selected chart positions and certifications
Title Album details Peak chart positions Certifications Sales


Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star 53 13
  • TBD
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.


List of singles as featured performer, with selected chart positions, showing year released and album name
Title Year Peak chart positions Album
US[5] US
"Definition" 1998 60 31 3 Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star
"Respiration" (featuring Common) 1999 54 6
"One Four Love Pt. 1"
(featuring Common, Kool G Rap, Pharoahe Monch, Posdnuos, Rah Digga, Shabaam Sahdeeq, and Sporty Thievz)
1999 55 4 6 Hip Hop for Respect EP
"Fix Up"[7] 2011 N/A
"—" denotes a title that did not chart, or was not released in that territory.

Other collaborations[edit]


External links[edit]