Dope Thanksgiving weekend kick-off, I thought to myself as I heard the words on repeat: “Who’s excited to see Talib Kweli? Make some [expletive to emphasize excitement] noise!!”

Why yes, in-house-MC, I AM ready to see Talib Kweli.  *Makes noise*

Why yes, Las Vegas-based opener, Jayson Rose, with a refreshingly diverse sound, mixing it up with classic underground stylings and a little dubstep, I AM ready to see Talib Kweli.  *Makes noise*  In addition, I appreciate your homage to our lovely LA with your single, “Purple Yellow.”

Why yes, lyrically uplifting MC Tunji, with accompanying electric violin touting Youtube sensation Jason Yang. I AM ready to see Talib.  *Makes noise*

Why yes, Los Angeles based rap trio Strong Arm Steady, holding it down for true hood-inspired gangster rap.  I AM READY to see Talib.  *Makes some [expletive] NOISE*

Talib Kweli Gutter Rainbows

Thanksgiving Eve, November 24th, I stood with a crowd of 400 strong in a packed Roxy Theatre to make some noise for Talib Kweli. In extreme difference to the ridiculously cold winter air outside on the Hollywood streets, the Roxy Theatre’s packed interior, extra hazy atmosphere (ESPECIALLY during Talib’s hit-single “Get ‘Em High”) and soul-shaking, bass-heavy system created a warm atmosphere for Talib Kweli’s charity drive Gutter Rainbows release show.  Hip-hop fans got in for free with the donation of warm clothing to help the less fortunate fight off what will probably be the coldest winter… Ever.  🙁

Promoted and taped by Myspace Music, the concert featured a lineup of up & coming artists, Blacksmith (Kweli’s label) associated artists, and the headliner himself with a dynamic 2-hour set where he performed past singles, new songs from his upcoming album, Gutter Rainbows, and even brought in a guest MC, West Coast rap icon Kurupt.  The crowd went nuts.

Talib Kweli

Talib Kweli

Talib Kweli

The opening sets were pretty solid and offered to the room a look at just how diverse hip hop can be.  From violin accompanied samba to gritty hardcore rap, the crowd seemed properly prepped for headliner Talib Kweli.

Talib, in a word, was amazing. Despite a faulty microphone, the clarity of his words could be heard even with his no breath delivery style. His trademark flow was fitting for his aggressively paced and politically charged lyrical content, performed through singles from hit albums such as The Beautiful Struggle and his work as part of hip-hop duos Blackstar and Reflection Eternal.

The new tracks were a bit more melodic and laid back than his previous work, but provided a good cushion to contrast with the older tracks. I found myself wide-eyed with the quality of his performance. No slip-ups, no stutters, and a mind-blowing 2-minute spoken-word styled free flow that instantly hushed the audience until one girl felt compelled to break the silence with a HELL YEAH, SPIT THAT.

I left the venue with chills, and not from the stupidly cold weather.

Talib Kweli

Talib Kweli

Talib Kweli

Gutter Rainbows drops on January 25, 2011, as a digital-only release via Blacksmith Music and Warner Brothers Records. For a sneak peak at the single “Cold Rain,” just press play!