Appearing on an episode of Kweli’s People’s Party podcast, Bey discussed the pressure to release the Madlib-produced follow-up to 1998’s ‘Mos Def and Talib Kweli Are Black Star’, which has been in the works for years.
Kweli framed the question to Bey in relation to streaming services, suggesting an aversion to the platform could relate to why the Black Star record has yet to be released.
“You mean to tell me that the source of labour at the centre of this experience is supposed to be satisfied and grateful with receiving a portion of a penny for their efforts and labour?” Bey responded, echoing a frequent criticism about Spotify and other platforms’ low royalty rates for streams.
“Now, whoever else is happy with that, then that’s you. You can take your labour to the market however you see fit. But when it relates to something that I’m doing, and that I’ve been doing, I don’t have to ask [for others’] permission, I don’t have to get your understanding,” he continued.
“If I’m ambivalent, or something just don’t feel right and I’m searching for a better way to do it, that’s completely my volition. I’m not here to be run by the audience’s expectations… You motherfuckers don’t get to tell me what to do with what I make. It’s between me and God, you understand?”
Bey went on to say that while he appreciated fans’ enthusiasm for his music, it was ultimately up to him to decide when and how to share his work, asking for patience while he and Kweli “get this shit sorted out”.
“I get it. We want it too. You think you want the album more than us? Knock it off. You did not spend the hours with that music or with those ideas. We did. And we’ve been doing this shit for the better part of our adult lives. So respectfully, mind your business,” he said.
“When we ready with it, you’ll get it. We’ve already given you real enough indication. What the fuck else do you want?” Bey asked, pointing out that Madlib had already played a Black Star song at a gig. “We not joking with you. It’s not hype.”
Last year, Kweli remarked that “interlopers and culture vultures” were preventing the release of the new Black Star album, saying it had been completed for over a year already but that “managers and lawyers” were getting in the way.
“I’m tired of being silent about this. I tried my best y’all. Flew around the globe. Paid for this out of pocket. All for the culture. I’m a fan of Black Star too,” he wrote.
“I want to see this come out as bad as y’all do, or more. But people who never made a beat, never wrote a rhyme in they life got they fingers in the pie and are being disrespectful to what me and my brothers built.”