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Duke Arts Presents

Talib Kweli

Friday, February 17, 2017 | 9:00 pm

Motorco Music Hall

Groundbreaking Brooklyn rapper Talib Kweli first made his name as half of Black Star, alongside Mos Def. Their acclaimed 1998 album mixed “rugged street beats and rhymes brainy enough for boho B-boys” (Entertainment Weekly), rejecting the violence and nihilism of gangsta rap in favor of a message of empowerment. Kweli has since put out more than a dozen albums, each radiating an “emotional immediacy and political awareness that was largely absent from hip-hop” (Pitchfork) before he came on the scene. Twenty years into his career and still pushing boundaries, Talib Kweli collaborated with Durham’s own multi-GRAMMY-winning producer 9th Wonder on the 2015 album Indie 500.

Capping off a weeklong residency at Duke, Kweli presents this two-night stand at Motorco, offering a rare opportunity to hear one of hip-hop’s most original and accomplished voices in the up-close-and-personal club setting. It’s the perfect venue to show off his combination of social consciousness and pure lyrical virtuosity.

With opening act Actual Proof, a Raleigh-based duo signed to GRAMMY Award-winning producer 9th Wonder’s Jamla label.


Talib Kweli is presented as part of Duke Performances’ Hip-Hop Initiative, made possible, in part, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation.

Talib Kweli, 9th Wonder

Every Ghetto (prod. Hi-Tek) ft. Rapsody

“Kweli is capable of showcasing a ferocious rhythmic flow, fueled by a vivid imagination that roams easily from poignant intimacy to obscure pop cultural asides to searing sociopolitical outrage to cleverly incisive insults worthy of hip-hop's star-studded, battle-rapping legacy.”

The Washington Post