20 of the Best Lyrics From Talib Kweli’s ‘Radio Silence’ Album

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Back when the rap was a culture divided—with a clear line between the mainstream and the underground—there was no secret as to what side of the fence rapper Talib Kweli, one of the flagship artists of Rawkus Records’ legendary roster, stood. Now, 20 years after his entrance into the game, Kweli—who would eventually dabble with life as a major label artist before reverting back to his roots as an indie maven—remains outspoken about his intentions and his opinion on the past, present and future of hip-hop.

However, the Brooklyn native differs from many of his contemporaries in the fact that he doesn’t just spew hot takes about the music or the artists, but is also very much present and active in the current climate of hip-hop. He embraces the platforms of today and remains one of rap’s more high-profile veterans. In 2017, Talib Kweli has made his presence known in a big way, whether it be on social media—his Twitter presence is heavy—through collaborative projects like The Seven, which costarred him alongside Styles P, or through his solo bodies of work, the latest being his newest long player, Radio Silence.

His first solo set since releasing Fuck the Money in 2015, Radio Silence, which was initially announced in 2016, showcases Kweli’s supreme prowess as an MC and captures him matching wits with an eclectic cast of guest stars. Boasting appearances from Jay Electronica, Rick Ross, Anderson .Paak, Waka Flocka Flame, BJ the Chicago Kid and Yummy Bingham, among others, Radio Silence is yet another strong showing from Kweli and a reminder that while some of his contemporaries may be disenchanted with making rap music, he remains as locked in as ever.

XXL gave Talib Kweli’s new album a focused listen and picked out 20 of the best lyrics from Radio Silence that speak to his lyrical brilliance.

  • “The Magic Hour”

    Talib Kweli

    “Making a way back to Brooklyn like we the warriors/Told you this man’s story bordering on vainglorious/Heading to Cali for an education of Sonny Carson/And the need to police resurrection of Johnnie Cochran/Never accepted the rejection ’cause failure never an option/That’s the gospel like Mahalia, I’m a legend, I’ve been a problem”

  • “The Magic Hour”

    Talib Kweli

    “Live my life in the sunshine/Bust rhymes beautiful as the sunrise/Plus side but the orchestra like I’m Sun Ra/Got with Alchemist like a wonder twin then we combine/The face of God got the finest features/High Valyrian rap looking for my Khaleesi/The ones that Ebro call minor league is the real fire breathers”

  • “Traveling Light”

    Talib Kweli Featuring Anderson .Paak

    “Traveling light, not talking about back of the back/First I get back in the lab, then I hit the road, I be back in a flash/Barry Allen mixed with Harry Allen/My blood hot as volcanic rock formed in Canary Diamonds they find on Canary Islands/My rhymes inspired by environments of the very violent/I’m the voice of a generation that’s very silent” – Talib Kweli

  • “Traveling Light”

    Talib Kweli Featuring Anderson .Paak

    “I’m faster than the speed of sound/Smashing through these barriers, I’m blasting out your speakers now/Travel around the planet till I landed where I’m needed now/We entertainers, they wanna call us leaders now/Woah, extra baggage not in the plans, I’ll shop when I land/Stop for the fans, every airport from Okinawa to Osaka, Japan” – Talib Kweli

  • “All of Us”

    Talib Kweli Featuring Jay Electronica and Yummy Bingham

    “They make you hate yourself it take effort so check the method/They’ll take you from your family, your kids will never respect you/Attach your sins to the black of skin we get the message/We start acting if we cracking the whip better than the oppressor, yessir/Every problem can’t be solved at the ballot box/We unifying Africa like Gaddafi that’s what got Malcolm shot” – Talib Kweli

  • “All of Us”

    Talib Kweli Featuring Jay Electronica and Yummy Bingham

    “Alhamdulillah, we’ve come really far, ain’t it?/The little engine who could, could power any car can’t it?/The mothers in Chiraq say the murders getting burdensome/The cries of the despised was heard flying out of Ferguson/The last days and times/The holy Quran and Bible we on the last page and line, the verse with all the babies dying/Outside of the matrix, inside of the spaceship but the savior’s blind” – Jay Electronica

  • “She’s My Hero”

    Talib Kweli

    “Father’s Day, an awkward occasion, would daddy fall from grace/Embrace the alcohol, call mommy a whore, put her back in her place/With black eyes, broken ribs, slashin’ her weight/No speculation, just the facts of the case/Stated: Allegedly wavin’ a gun in her face/After all that he came back, and was great, right?/Tired of hearin’ mommy scream, ‘Put the gun away’/She knew that when she got the courage she would run away”

  • “Chips”

    Talib Kweli Featuring Waka Flocka Flame

    “Thank God I’m back, this ain’t hard in fact/This target practice, red beams/Standing up ‘cause I’m man enough/And then turn her on like wet dreams/You can’t wet it up, you can step it up/You ain’t catching up with my jet stream/And I’m going too fast, so I put ’em on blast/Why you showing yo ass, this ain’t sex scenes” – Talib Kweli

  • “Chips”

    Talib Kweli Featuring Waka Flocka Flame

    “My shit a event, you shit a show/Nigga I could still get a brick for the low/Nigga I could still put dick in ya hoe/And I’d rather die rich than live po’ oh/Busta bust better give me some mo’/We gon’ hit a lick then divi the dough/I’ma sell again one minute ago/I don’t give a fuck if you friendly or foe” – Waka Flocka

  • “Knockturnal”

    Talib Kweli

    “He in the streets like he ain’t got a home/Writing a poem to the beat of the sobs and moans/Ran into Joan, skin chocolate as a Toblerone/Clickety-clack of stilettos on wet cobblestones/Streetlights illuminate how truly dark it is/The block is a college, you got a degree in marketing/A doctorate in swallowing, this pimping paid her scholarships/She poppin’ out her tits, ‘cos they pay her to be provocative”

  • “Radio Silence”

    Talib Kweli Featuring Amber Coffman and Myka 9

    “Better pass the mic in the afterlife/If so let me spit flows good enough to offer to God as a sacrifice/Born again like I passed away/Castigated for being honest/Caught bail like a Castaway/Because I feel like I’m swimmin’ on an island/When I’m gettin’ introspective: that’s radio silence/When I’m fuckin’ up program directives: that’s radio violence” – Talib Kweli

  • “Radio Silence”

    Talib Kweli Featuring Amber Coffman and Myka 9

    “I live on the edge, I’ll send you a postcard/Fuck a phone, I got a chip on my neck that’s a close call/Turn the lights off, see how we glow in the dark/Or we growin’ apart or tryna survive the flood like we in Noah’s Ark/We battin’ down the hatchets and we set sail/Tryna get far away from inhalin’ them chemtrails/My intel says they makin’ people out of the stem cells/The gun’s our sunflower seed, we love to spit shells” – Talib Kweli

  • “The One I Love”

    Talib Kweli Featuring BJ The Chicago Kid

    “This is your last try if I don’t act right/This what you said the last time/We know each other so well that we past lying/And we past crying, and we past fighting/It’s like dealing with women my favorite pastime/I love finding trails to path find ain’t nothing like it/When you stop calling that was a bad sign/Remember you would blow up the bat line now flatline” – Talib Kweli

  • “The One I Love”

    Talib Kweli Featuring BJ The Chicago Kid

    “Turned to pills and the liquor when your feelings was bitter/Signed, sealed and delivered but you still with a nigga/Now my ex chick is ill but you the best in the field/Place your bets, here’s a mill I invest in the real/Went from Netflix and chill to breakfast in Brazil/Went from Mexican villas straight to Texas for grills” – Talib Kweli

  • “Heads Up Eyes Open”

    Talib Kweli featuring Rick Ross and Yummy Bingham

    “A wise man know what he know and what he doesn’t/If he’s not really sure what he’s saying, he don’t discuss it/A righteous man walks the earth without judgment/And loves his enemies enough to deliver justice/A pious man relies on religion for his direction/At times he introspective, but his biblehood never questioned/A dying man will make a confession, try to get into heaven/Thinking his lifestyle is blocking his blessing” – Talib Kweli

  • “Heads Up Eyes Open”

    Talib Kweli Featuring Rick Ross and Yummy Bingham

    “Blowing weed smoke on the cover of The Source/Rolling Stones would’ve thought I was the boss/Fallen soldier on his own so we march/Roll up a bag of that weed, therefore I spark/Recite the Quran, I’m in the dark/Devil knocking on my door, he like a narc” – Rick Ross

  • “Heads Up Eyes Open”

    Talib Kweli Featuring Rick Ross and Yummy Bingham

    “Belief is a funny thing, in case you’re wondering/If they want the ring, they coming for the throne like they the sons of kings/These average rappers is acting up for the dough/Yea I tell you what I believe, but I back it up with what I know/It’s the facts versus the facts simile, your raps killing me/My last victory was great moments in Black history” – Talib Kweli

  • “Let It Roll”

    Talib Kweli

    “Yo, I love the way it feels, man, it feels good/Yeah, this track got a feel, man, it’s real good/Got the ill melody but it’s still hood/You know the deal, yo, I never let up/Keep it flashier than old-school get-ups/Got it crackin’ like old-school leather/Reminiscent of a more wholesome era/I would ask a little girl if we could go together”

  • “Let It Roll”

    Talib Kweli

    “Pistols, brandish it, we never hand ’em in/Accessory to crime got ’em handling the shenanigans/And the hand God brings like the Mandarin/Ugly since picking polo rugbies off the mannequin/Now I’m feeling like the new wave/Like I’m two days deep into my blue phase/My baby hate that I’m living out of suitcase/Like I forgot to tie the knot like the shoelace”

  • “Write At Home”

    Talib Kweli Featuring Datcha, Bilal and Robert Glasper

    “Passion for the culture, the vultures is trying to kill it/Its a war for your spirit, the lyrics is here to heal us/Looking for a fountain to keep us forever young/While I get my energy from the sun, all things are one, ha/Rolling a blunt on a copy of Native Son, ha/Getting hundreds for speaking in native tongues, ha/My color is my penalty, mentally on the run/Photosynthesizing my energy from the sun/Releasing blockages, I ain’t stopping until they go/Feeling like my pockets is full of stone” – Talib Kweli



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