It’s not like rapper Talib Kweli and producer Hi-Tek haven’t been busy since 2000’s Train of Thought, the duo’s debut album as Reflection Eternal.
Both have become established and respected artists and often collaborated on each others solo projects.
But 10 years later, the group is back with their second offering, Revolutions Per Minute.
“It doesn’t feel like it’s been a hiatus really,” Kweli said of the time in-between albums. “It feels like coming home again.”
“Working with Kweli is something I can call my own,” Hi-Tek said of the group. “It doesn’t feel like ten years since the last album, definitely not.”
Kweli and Hi-Tek say their music has evolved as both have experienced the ups and downs of the music industry.
Although the group has matured, their sound and delivery is still very much what their devoted fanbase appreciates—a delicate balance of both issue-oriented lyricism and light-hearted club numbers.
One track, “Ballad of the Black Gold,” describes the impact the oil industry has had around the world, particularly in Nigeria, where Kweli visited.
“I haven’t been to Afghanistan, Iraq or any of the Middle Eastern countries that deal with big oil,” Kweli said. “Nigeria was the closest I came to [experiencing that] besides our own country, so I wanted to express that through music.”
Kweli said he hopes his fans understand the duo’s time off as Reflection Eternal wasn’t intentional or planned — it’s just a part of making music.
“It’s very seductive to give the fans what they want and make music only for them,” Kweli said. “But you have to remain honest to yourself too as an artist. And I think Hi-Tek and I have done that and our fans appreciate that.”