In the prologue ofVibrate Higher: A Rap StoryTalib Kwelitakes pains to say that his first book shouldn't be treated as a manifesto, a guidebook, or "a rallying cry for real hip-hop." Rather, his memoir outlines the evolution of hip-hop and Kweli's experiences in that ecosystem, and traces his journey from the Five Percent Nation to boarding school in Connecticut to eventually reaching the "top of the nerd food chain" by establishing a career that's spanned decades and found Kweli routinely collaborating with the biggest names in rap. While he delights in recounting his successes, he's just as quick to dedicate chapters to tales of going broke, screwing up, and letting people down.

Kweli also writes in his book about the necessity of reaching across generational lines to uplift artists who came before and after, the value of carefully curating what you consume, and even the pitfalls of internet culture, from the early message board days to the ceaseless chaos of Twitter. During a conversation with AllMusic, he discussed the experiences and mindset that guided his career, the internal contradictions that successful artists have to learn to navigate, and when this lifelong student of hip-hop realized he no longer felt obligated to keep up with the relentless influx of new artists and styles.Vibrate Higher: A Rap Storyis out now.

AllMusic: Your book delves the general history of hip-hop, not just your involvement in it. Did you always plan on that being an aspect of the book?

My story is a hip-hop story, my story is a story of community, the story of [Kweli's parents] Perry and Brenda. I don't exist without those things, so I didn't see how I could tell my story properly without telling the story of my neighborhood, of certain things that really inspired me, because not everybody was there for these things, and I really wanted to give the audience context.

AllMusic: Did you read other music memoirs to think about where yours might fit in with that world?

我读了很多音乐传记,我享受一般的传记,但我在黑人作家的佳能看待自己的嘉年人,他们告诉他们的故事,就像理查德赖特或Maya Angelou一样。我知道,当我开始工作时,Keith Richardsbiography had just come out, and帕蒂·史密斯had just come out, so those were inspiring to me.

AllMusic: You get into your family tree and trace it back a ways, were those details common knowledge in your family when you were growing up?

I sort of interviewed my parents, I sat with them and said, "Tell me about your history, tell me about growing up," so some of that about my parents and the history of their parents, I learned from doing this. A lot of it I knew, and it filled in the blanks of a lot of things I was only marginally aware of.

AllMusic: Was that an experience you'd recommend to other people?


AllMusic: I appreciated the honesty about your early exposure to rap being the "Super Bowl Shuffle" and "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)" instead of something more cool and obscure.

Those records were a matter of proximity, right? Those records were huge in the culture, huge mainstream records, records that everybody in the country was a part of.






If you listen to my early music, I came from a community that was always like, "We have to pay tribute to our ancestors," and a lot of my records were talking about b-boys and keeping hip-hop on vinyl and paying tribute tothe Rock Steady Crew和我们面前的人,这非常重要。但我觉得如果你要那样,它就必须走两种方式。我知道,在我的职业生涯早期,人们经常试图用我和其他艺术家作为一种越来越多的主流艺术家,或年轻的艺术家,或者艺术家,他们没有做真正的嘻哈。“我喜欢Talib Kweli和mos defbecause they keep it real, they're way better than these other guys."




yabo电竞appAllmusic:这本书中有一个故事Q-Tippraising an early performance of yours, which meant a lot to you. Once you had success and were able to give other artists that sort of co-sign, did you feel you had to be selective about who you gave it to?

The way I look at it, I don't look at it as some exclusive club. I know for a fact how hard it is to make a good song, much less a good album. Making a good song is one of the hardest things in the world to do, that's why people cherish art so much, because it's a prize commodity, not everyone can do it. People who make good songs over and over again, they become heroes, icons. That's because making a good song is such a hard task. So to me, if you've made one song that I like, then I'm treating you like a brother or a sister. I'm treating you like, "OK, we're in this art shit together." I don't have to like everything you do, but if you make one song I like, then I've got to give it up.

yabo电竞appallmusic:你描述 someone whose path took him from being a smart observer of the culture to being a reluctant participant in it. That struck me as an astute description of a common trap of success.

我已经这样做了,我肯定发现自己正在做和说出基于作为一个让我畏缩的名人,就像“哇,你怎么样?”我肯定经历过这一点。当我听的时候Drake's music when he first came out, a lot of his rhymes were like, "I'm at this club drinking champagne, and I don't really want to drink this champagne, but they're putting it on my table in front of me." And now he's like, "I'm Champagne Papi." I've always been interested in that kind of artist.


That was definitely obvious to include. But I've由于被暂停了推特那so I had a conversation with the book people -- I'd already turned it in -- and I was like, "Can I add a paragraph to address my suspension?" and they were like, "No, it's already turned in," so that can be in the next book. But I was on Twitter actively for 10 years, and if I didn't get suspended, I might still be on there right now. If you look back at my history on Twitter, there were a lot of things I saw early on, like getting trolled by the Proud Boys, there's a lot of things that are coming up now that my Twitter was documenting 10 years ago, so I definitely think it was an important thing. But I'm also glad that it's over. Whether it was a suspension or my own free will, it was definitely time for me to do something else with my time.