Talib Kweli‘s sixth solo album, Prisoner of Conscious, is due this April, and the rapper told Hive that he’s made some changes for this one. “I think the most glaring difference from the albums I’ve released before is the number of features on it,” he said via phone last week. Confirmed vocalists include Kendrick Lamar, Nelly, Busta Rhymes, Black Thought, Rah Digga and Brazilian artist Seu Jorge for the song “Favela Love,” with production assists coming from the RZA, Oh No, Terrance Martin, Symbolyc One and J Cole.
Speaking about his collaboration with Kendrick Lamar on the song “Push Thru,” Kweli said, “I first heard Kendrick’s music when I was signed to Warner Brothers, so like in 2009. I thought he was incredible. He came to my house for a radio show — my wife used to have a radio show — and he was in my garage. That was actually the first time I heard Kendrick Lamar, he was in my garage and I walked past and he was rapping!”
J Cole’s contribution to Prisoner of Conscious was handling the production for the final song on the project, which also features vocals from Marsha Ambrosius. “It’s a real positive uplifting record but also a real musical record and I think it will be a timely record,” explained Kweli. “It’s about no matter what people go through, telling them that it’s going to get better. It’s about encouraging people to always see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Kweli said he named the album Prison of Conscious because this record isn’t “overtly political and heavy-handed, which is something that I can definitely do and have done in the past, but this album is really all about dealing with life situations.” He added, “I think people are going to really relate to the music.”
Prisoner of Conscious is due April 23. The first single, “Art Imitates Life” is available now on iTunes.