It was well over two decades ago that Talib Kweli and Yasiin Bey (then known as Mos Def) declared, “Black Star keep shinin’.” However, in the intervening years, it seemed that Black Star had long since burned out. The two respected rappers would offer glimmers of hope, but for most, their reunion seemed like a lost cause. After announcing they were working on a new album in 2018, it almost felt like they were stringing rap fans along — I mean, even Kweli was shocked by Bey’s insistence that he was coming out of retirement.
But wonder of wonders, it looks like the thing actually exists — and even better, it has a release date. Today, Black Star announced that their comeback album, No Fear of Time, will drop on May 3 via the Luminary podcast network, which also hosts their show The Midnight Miracle with Dave Chappelle and the Uproxx-produced People’s Party With Talib Kweli. The album is entirely produced by the duo’s longtime collaborator Madlib, who dropped his album Sound Ancestors in 2021 after teaming up with Freddie Gibbs in 2019 for Bandana.
In a press release, Kweli explained how the album came together:
“About 3-4 years ago I was visiting Yasiin in Europe and we started to talk about songs to do on an album, so 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. 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.
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.”