Black Star’s first new album in nearly 25 years, No Fear of Time, has arrived, via subscription podcast platform Luminary, and with it comes the hip-hop super duo’s free-to-watch lyric video for “o.G.”
On the new song, Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def) and Talib Kweli trade verses, with Bey holding down the chorus. The pair layout the “truth” that is “everlasting” through their respective parables. “The parable of the talented, each generation,” Bey raps. “The wonders and the wealth of all nations/Is really chump change once you take into consideration/The living revelation that no soul could escape from/So go on, let a sucker say something.”
“This the parable of the talented, powerful is the caliber/My birthday is a holiday, mark it down on your calendars,” Kweli raps on his verse. “YouTube, they feeding us through a catheter/’Bout to holler at Yasiin and move to Africa/Spectacular, bars assassinate your character/Brooklyn got the best rappers per capita.”
Their much-anticipated nine-song sophomore LP was produced by Madlib and follows their 1998 self-titled debut album. Last month, The Midnight Miracle — a podcast featuring Bey, Kweli and Dave Chappelle — featured an episode called “Bugs Bunny Mathematicx” that serves as “audio liner notes” for No Fear of Time and appearances by the Roots’ Questlove and Black Thought, Roc Marciano, and others.
In a statement, Kweli said he had visited Bey in Europe three or four years ago, where they started discussing songs for the album. “I flew an engineer out just to see what that would be. Once I realized this conversation is starting to organically become a creative conversation, I started making sure to have the engineer around at all times,” he said. “There was one day we were just in a hotel listening to Madlib beats, and he’s like ‘Play that Madlib tape again.’ I’m playing the beats and he starts doing rhymes to the beats. And that’s how we did the first song.”
Kweli added, “This is very similar to how we did the first album. But the first album, there were no mobile studios. This entire album, we have not set foot in one recording studio. It’s all been done in hotel rooms and backstage at Dave Chappelle shows.”