Nearly ten years ago, Talib Kweli and DJ Hi-Tek issued Reflection Eternal. They packed the classic album with thoughtful neo-soul-influenced tracks. But soon after its release — which was delayed over a year and originally titled Train of Thought — the two amicably pursued solo careers, with mixed results. Hi-Tek’s had something of a journeyman producer’s career, landing plenty of big assignments (notably G-Unit) but so far failing to score that big hit (with the exception of “Round and Round” from his debut, 2002’s Hi-Teknology) that would make him a top street rap producers like Alchemist. Kweli has had more success — he recently shocked the music industry when his 2007 album, Eardrum, debuted at number 2 on the Billboard album charts. But he still doesn’t get respect from hip hop’s power brokers, who often dismiss him as a relic of the 90s underground scene. He’s reportedly working on a new solo album titled Prisoner of Conscious.
So Reflection Eternal’s forthcoming second album, which comes after years of thwarted reunions and occasional collaborations, should remind people where Kweli and Hi-Tek come from, and why they’ve managed to last over ten years in the business. They have several shows lined up this month including a four-night stand at the Blue Note club in New York and, of course, a run through the SXSW festival. With luck, the album should drop this fall.
- 3/10: Blue Note, New York, NY
- 3/11: Blue Note, New York, NY
- 3/19: Scoot Inn, Austin, TX
Reflection Eternal feat. Bootsy Collins, “Internet Connection”