Vibrate Higher: A Rap Story
by Talib Kweli
Published by Picador on February 15, 2022
Rap // Non-Fiction // Politics
If we’re being honest…Talib Kweli sums up his hip hop memoir in his aptly titled hit I Try:
“Life is a beautiful struggle
People search through the rubble for a suitable hustle
Some people usin’ the noodle, some people usin’ the muscle
Some people put it all together, make it fit like a puzzle.”
And there’s Vibrate Higher’s themes. Though more than Talib Kweli’s autobiography; this is a firsthand account of hip hop as a culture: the craft and activism.
On Page 65 he writes…
“Some hip hop fans can’t see past the music that was out when they were in high school or college because that’s when they were defining themselves. Music that is attached to the memories you made as you were figuring out who you were will always sound better to your ears than anything that comes out after that time. This is our nature.”
I know Talib Kweli is not a household name but if you want an engaging read about a creator finding his vocation, a poet discovering his power, a citizen understanding his voice all set to some classic Kanye West tales then this is your jam.
“This is not a rallying cry for real hip-hop, or a guidebook on how to be more conscious in the way you live. This is not a manifesto handed down from the tops of mountains. This is simply me, in all my glory, pain, splendor, and shame. This is about the people and the events that shaped me. These are stories about the places that raised me in equal measure with my parents. This is the revelation I have been running toward since I first put a sixteen-bar verse together. Writing this book has shown me what I’ve always known but was either too scared or too proud to share anywhere outside the box that is a hip-hop song.” (From Page 4)
What else would you expect from hip hop’s conscious corner. Clearly: Common Sense. Heh.
Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.
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