Talib Kweli: A3C Edition
BY DEV GILLESPIE
Attending this year’s festival as A3C Alumni, Talib Kweli, who you can usually find at the forefront of all things authentic in regards to hip hop, is making his way around Atlanta in efforts to connect with and help advance the culture. I spoke with Talib Kweli before his showcase performance for his label, “Javotti Media” at Space 2 where he explains why A3C and connecting with each other is important, how he is viewed as a social leader, and how his recent interview with CNN’s Don Lemon went left.
Dev Gillespie: Why do you feel like the A3C Festival is important to our culture beyond music?
Talib Kweli: I think anytime a group of artist can get together and artist can come together and build and highlight this is important to culture. Things like this are necessary, ya know. It really seems to be focused on the spirit of the art form rather than the commerce. It’s just about ‘how do artist capitalize on their craft?’ seems like the focus here.
Dev Gillespie: Tell us a about your label that you have here with you and what you all have planned musically coming up.
Talib Kweli: Javotti Media is myself, Jessica Care More, Res, Corey Mor, NIKO IS, and you know we’re just trying to put out good music. We’re trying to find new and creative innovative ways to put out hot shit.
Dev Gillespie: In a past interview you mentioned that you think people are attached to the part of you that is very socially and politically aware and they forget about your actual music ability. Is that frustrating to you or is it looked at as a blessing that people can connect with you like that?
Talib Kweli: It’s definitely a blessing. It’s certainly a blessing. If I had any criticism about that, it’s not from the people connecting to me because of those reasons, but it’s from music journalist and music people who ask about sensational stuff, rather than the music. It becomes that the burden is on me to first of all, make sure the music is good enough and they want to talk about the music. Secondly, make sure I understand the purpose of why I do each interview.
Dev Gillespie: You’re here at A3C and you’re going to be connecting with a lot of different people and different artist. What do you feel like up and coming artists can get from you here that they couldn’t necessarily get through your Twitter feed or an interview?
Talib Kweli: Just a personal interaction. I’ve already met several people just walking around. Here you’re going to see certain artists who are going to get down with the people, who are going to walk around and do their thing. That’s another good thing about A3C, it brings everybody here together.
Dev Gillespie: You’ve always stayed to your authentic style and didn’t really change up with the times like most people have in the music industry. What do you think it is about you and your music that allowed you to stay the same and relevant while everything was changing?
Talib Kweli: I just really love it. With my focus, I’m not an entertainer or a crowd pleaser. I Am. That’s not why I do it. I do it because I love music and if I focus on why I do it at all times, it will stay right.
Dev Gillespie: You’ve been in and out of Ferguson since teenager Mike Brown was murdered by a police officer and your interview on CNN with Don Lemon regarding the story has been all over the media. Are there any misconceptions about that interview or anything you would like to clear up?
Talib Kweli: Yes, I wrote a piece on medium.com called “The Point That Went Missing” and in that piece I spoke about that in depth. If anyone is interested I suggest they read that piece because it’s so much easier than for me to try to regurgitate it.