Black Star No Fear Of Time

After 24 long years, hip hop heads have finally been treated to the follow up Black Star album ‘No Fear Of Time’ completely produced by Madlib and recorded informally across the globe over numerous years. The album launched exclusively via the Luminary platform, meaning fans have to subscribe to the platform to listen to the new joint, in yet another envelope pushing move from the talented duo of Yasiin Bey and Talib Kweli. But what we really want to know is….. how dope is it?!

After a handful of spins, there are a number of takeaways, but the first one needs to be this…. this ISN’T an extension of the magic that was created almost a quarter of a century ago. This album is different, the style is different, the artists themselves have evolved, changed and adapted and as such, so has the music.   When you set the bar so high, and the duration between joints has only heightened the social commentary around the release, expectations are going to be outlandish. As a listener, the challenge is to provide yourself with multiple opportunities to experience the music and determine for yourself what it is.

This review is how we found the album. Having already heard the first single and hearing the effects used on Mos Def’s vocals, how Black Thought came through and obliterated the mic….. we went in with an open mind as to what to expect. First listen was interesting, there was a nice vibe to it, but the somewhat lazy flow of Mos Def was more difficult to vibe with than the Madlib production or the lyrical prowess and engaging flow Of Talib Kweli. After another go through, the music started to build and grow from what had originally sounded fairly ‘pedestrian’ to more carefully crafted and intricate.

Overall, we’ve landed on one thing – this album is very much worth the listen. Yes, there are some missteps and at times the subdued delivery of Mos Def fails to engage you as a listener, but overall the album is yet another quality offering and listening experience for hip hop heads. It’s not better than the original, but very few sophomore releases are. It’s not even better than the work Talib Kweli has done with Styles P or the Gotham joint from last year with Diamond D – but it’s a Black Star album produced by Madlib! Nine new tracks from two exceptional lyrical assasins with creative hip hop soundscapes underpinning it all.

As for the bangers and the score? I’ma leave this one to y’all. Let us know in the comments what tracks you were feeling and overall your perspective on ‘No Fear Of Time’.

UPDATE: Having put in nearly a dozen listens, this has actually grown even more on me. I still can’t get past some of the lazier Mos verses, but the intricacies of the production have grown and the meaty lyrics have overshadowed some of the softer spots. I’ve bumped it up a level – it’s not God tier but it definitely has legs…

Raw Side Hip Hop

About The Author

By Brutus Maximus

Founder of Raw Side Hip Hop. Been rocking with the hip hop culture for over 30 years. Love the creativity, authenticity of the art and the culture as a whole. Shout out to the real ones making and supporting true hip hip and the artists who make it!