Talib Kweli was in Chicago recently performing at The City Winery in the West Loop neighborhood of Chicago. If you know anything about City Winery, then you know it’s not the most traditional place to hold a hip-hop show. It’s a casual/semi-formal restaurant more conducive to jazz or R&B. That didn’t stop the fans from coming out to see the veteran run through hit after hit. It was interesting to see Kweli perform in this space because I’m sure he is used to seeing people stand with their hands up in the air with people mouthing his lyrics. At one point during the night, he finally asked people to stand and the space transformed.
Over the course of his career, Kweli has proved himself to be a valuable contributor to hip-hop whether it be through the music he created with Yasiin Bey, (formerly known as Mos Def) in the group Blackstar or the classics he crafted with the producer High Tek for Reflection Eternal.
Kweli has ventured into the mogul side of the business and signed Chicago’s very own K Valentine. He brought her out during his set to perform and her skill is undeniable. Her youthful presence is dwarfed by the weight of her lyrics and delivery. As she performed, Kweli looked on like a proud father.
According to Kweli, the best emcees come from Brooklyn, New York, and the best producers come from the Midwest. To prove the producer portion, he performed songs produced by High Tek and Kanye West. He brought Chicago’s GLC out to perform his verses from “Drive Slow” and “Spaceship” both produced by West. At the end of the night he performed his biggest hit, “Get By” also produced by West and it was easy to forget that we were in a winery as the audience was overtaken by the message of the song.
“It was a tastefully and articulately executed performance that exuded a natural ability to remain in the moment and touch the pulse of the people at the venue all while remaining true to his craft, political and social views and responsibility regarding the current state of affairs as [it] relates [to] us,” said fan and businessman Vernon Gates about the show.
Check out a few pics below.