Artist: Talib Kweli & MadlibTitle: LiberationRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Sidik Fofana

Did you see Talib Kweli on that episode of MTV’s Wild N Out? When it came down to the Wildstyle segment, my man roasted every single red team member, stinging them with sharp battle couplets. It was fair and unfair at the same time. It was fair because most times, Talib Kweli does not usually get the spotlight to make such awesome showcases of ability. Unfair because, well, look at who else shared the stage with him. That brings us to Talib Kweli’s current state as he almost quietly releases, via free download, Liberation with Oakland crate digger Madlib.

Running nine tracks and only available on the net, Liberation is by no means lazy. As a matter of fact, lazy in Hip-Hop usually means when the artist is too arrogant and complacent to edit his album to a reasonable length. Talib and Madlib, however took the time to string quality songs together and it shows in Talib’s intricate flows and Madlib's crisp vinyl-researched beats. Lyrically, Talib has stepped up his Webster game. On the intro track, "The Show," he goes on a lyrical stream of consciousness: "Popping fresh, caking up and breaking up the monotonous/Flow they can’t write or plant life like a botanist, grow/A new crop and just roll it up blow it up/Excuse the calculus, though." Talib and Madlib also lean toward concept songs as tracks like "Over The Counter" and "Engine Runnin'" with Consequence spice up the album's already high caliber content.

The strongest track on Liberation is by far "Happy Home" featuring Candice Anderson. It’s an ultra poetic retelling of the Kweli family tree, and definitely has one of the longest rewind half-life of any rap song put out in all of '06. Mr. Kweli has a big reputation for dropping bold chunks of knowledge, so in a way Liberation is not a surprise. But what sets him apart on this release is that instead of relying on his reputation, he builds on it.