released May 18th, 2010

from the album - In This World

from all music

Lyrical prodigy Talib Kweli and extraordinary underground hip-hop producer DJ Hi-Tek comprise Reflection Eternal. Kweli — who's name literally means "seeker of truth" — also owns a small bookstore in Brooklyn and is more than just an average MC, being also a key to the Mos Def collaborational LP Black Star. He first met Hi-Tek in 1994 while visiting Cincinnati, and appeared on a track from Hi-Tek's group Mood After Reflection Eternal's inception in 1997, the pair were signed to indie powerhouse Rawkus Records, where they released their first single "Fortified Live" b/w the indie sensation "2000 Seasons." The best way to describe Talib Kweli is as an erudite wordsmith prodigy; he incorporates political issues, complex metaphors, vivid imagery, a braggadocio rhyme style, and an overall charisma into his precise lyrical presentation. Although Reflection Eternal is an "underground" hip hop group in principal, the relevance of Kweli's lyrics and the resonance of Hi-Tek's production propelled them to the forefront of quality hip-hop. Reflection Eternal was also featured on Mos Def's album Black on Both Sides, as well as the antiestablishment opus album entitled The Unbound Project. The duo's self-titled debut LP was actually filed under the name of Talib Kweli & DJ Hi-Tek. In 2010 the duo reunited to release another collaboration, Revolutions Per Minute, under their Reflection Eternal moniker.

album review

Reuniting a decade after their debut, Train of Thought, Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek return with another collaboration under their Reflection Eternal moniker. Despite the gap between albums, Kweli and Hi-Tek still have the same chemistry that’s followed them from project to project. Hi-Tek’s soul-infused beats create the perfect laid-back atmosphere for Kweli’s casual verbal acrobatics, crafting beats that bring the listener into the group's chilled-out space with their minimal aesthetic. Rather than getting too lost in the crates, Hi-Tek keeps things relatively minimal, letting the beats do the heavy lifting while the samples create the proper headspace for Kweli and friends to explore. “In the Red” shows off this kind of exploratory production, where Hi-Tek’s less-is-more beat cruises along while Kweli raps about the fall of his musical heroes, saying “Shame how our heroes is broke/We call them stars/It’s because when they falling to Earth/They falling hard.” Like their last album together, Revolutions Per Minute also has some hard-hitting guest spots. Most surprising of these is “Strangers (Paranoid),” which features former UGK member Bun B stopping by to drop some verses on the topic of government bailouts. The biggest treat for Black Star fans will be the star-packed “Just Begun,” featuring Jay Electronica, J. Cole, and Kweli’s former Black Star partner, Mos Def. The track really captures that Native Tongues old school meets new school feeling, reminding us what made Black Star so good while making us all scratch our heads as we wonder why Jay Electronica isn’t more famous. Revolutions Per Minute is an album that’s been a long time coming, and Kweli and Hi-Tek prove once again that there’s more to rap than club bangers, delivering another dose of socially and politically conscious music that’s more about opening people’s eyes to what’s happening in the world than telling them how to feel about it.

Track Listing

1 RPM's Seeff 1:06
2 City Playgrounds Greene 4:43
3 Back Again Greene 3:26
4 Strangers (Paranoid) Greene 2:51
5 In This World Greene, Lipscomb 3:30
6 Got Work Greene 4:16
7 Midnight Hour Greene, Swaray 4:39
8 Lifting Off Greene 5:22
9 In the Red Greene 3:00
10 Black Gold Intro :17
11 Ballad of the Black Gold Greene 5:33
12 Just Begun Greene 3:36
13 Long Hot Summer Greene, Lipscomb 2:22
14 Get Loose Greene 5:33
15 So Good Greene 3:32
16 Ends Greene 3:22
17 My Life (Outro) Greene 3:27