‘Reflection Eternal’

It's tightly produced, exploring many styles, samples and fine vocal talent...

[a]Talib Kweli[/a] was gaining some serious attention from the masses when he played New York in the summer, while still known over here merely as a great MC within the Rawkus family – people had only seen him live with Mos Def and Company Flow.

That, however, was until he came over here last month and really showed the crowds how he works it, with producer extraordinaire Hi Tek. If you missed this, then you should without a doubt pick up their new LP ‘Reflection Eternal’. It’s tightly produced, exploring many styles, samples and fine vocal talent. An extensive variety of percussion, from Afro beats to rim shots, blended with NY-style loops, keeps the sound organic but spacious. Kweli as an MC covers mass subjects, and there’s plenty of guests who add to and harmonise with him; making this a more mature piece of work.

It’s artistic and exploratory – especially when you check tracks like ‘The Blast’, featuring the lush vocals of Vinia Mojica, and the relaxing vibes from ‘Too Late’, with Res singing over the backing sounds like an additional instrument. The forthcoming single ‘Move Somethin” shifts up a gear, not to mention ‘Down For The Count’ with Rah Digga and Xzibit – a hardcore floor-filler.

‘Ghetto Afterlife’ expresses class choice in sampling and additional vocals from Kool G Rap, with Hi Tek showing off his cutting skills to boot. Then there’s the tracks fusing female vocals with hip-hop sounds, creating a more grown-up sound, easily felt by the girls and the boys equally – check ‘On My Way’ with Vinia Mojica, Kendra Ross and Tiye Phoenix and, especially, the beautiful ‘Love Language’ featuring Les Nubians. And once this is over, the funk kicks in on ‘Soul Rebels’ with spitkickers De La Soul.

Original by name, original by nature – excellent!

Sally Edwards