Watch Black Thought Surprise Talib Kweli, Rakim, And Bob James On Stage At The Blue Note Jazz Club

When Uproxx’s People’s Party with Talib Kweli descended on the Blue Note Jazz Club in February, we expected some excitement. There was cultural icon Jon Stewart rocking up to the venue with no team, no security, and no publicists to sit down with Kweli for a sprawling interview. There was Jim Jones fully in his swag-bag, reflecting on Dipset’s history and legacy (episode to come). There was jazz legend Bob James discussing his place in hip-hop and his many widely sampled tracks including its most sampled track, “Nautilus.” Have you caught that one?

Really, the whole run demands your attention, And it concluded with a three-night Blue Note residency by Kweli — featuring a lineup of absolute luminaries. Rakim. Bob James. DMC. Smif-n-Wessun.

It was a run. And as if the listed cameos weren’t attention-grabbing enough, on night two of the residency Mr. “Your Favorite Rapper’s Favorite Rapper’s Favorite Rapper,” Black Thought walked in off the street and took the stage. Considering how often he’s asked to freestyle on his regular gig, as part of the house band for The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and that he’s a stone-cold rap GOAT, it was no surprise to see BT assassinate the mic. Still, every time you encounter his freewheeling vocal dexterity, it’s going to be a full-on, audience-galvanizing moment.

Especially when Kweli asked Bob James and his house band, “The Whiskey Boys,” to play a rendition of Mobb Deep’s “The Learning (Burn).” For those who don’t know, that’s the beat that Black Thought spat on when he performed his very very viral cipher on Funk Flex right around the time The Roots were getting critiqued for not being political enough. Making this performance sort of a remix of that widely shared moment. Check the original performance below and the Blue Note performance above.

More content from the Blue Note run featuring Kweli, Black Thought, Rakim, Smif-n-Wessun, and more to come!