Way, way, way back in 1998, Talib Kweli and Mos Def released an album as the MC duo Black Star. The self-titled record pleaded for nonviolence in the wake of the murders of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls and came packed with the sort of literate references hip-hop fans don't often find in mainstream work, cribbing from both hip-hop pioneers such as Boogie Down Productions and African-American literature such as Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye.
But hailing as it did from the same Native Tongues collective in New York that gave rise to De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest, Black Star boasted a tendency toward feel-good vibes and high-minded lyricism that should have surprised no one. The duo issued only that one album, and while it has toured a few times since then, and even contributed work to each other's solo albums, a new Black Star record has not been forthcoming ... until now.
News of a new Black Star album first came out a couple of months ago. Since then, Kweli and Mos Def have toured the country, performing the songs their ever-patient fans can expect to hear on the new release when it comes out in 2012. The group will hit the Fillmore Miami Beach Tuesday in what, for longtime fans of the band, could be the most hotly anticipated concert event of the past decade. For people who can't get enough of Kweli's beats, the MC will follow the show with a DJ set 10 p.m. at the Wall Lounge at the W South Beach, 2201 Collins Ave., in Miami Beach.
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