Talib Kweli. Common. Mos Def. James Poyser. Erykah Badu. ?uestlove. D’Angelo. Q-Tip. J Dilla. Bilal.
If you call yourself a hip-hop fan but don’t know who these dangerous masters of music are then you were either born after the year 2000 or you were like that kid that goes to the store for his mom and keeps the change and deserve a hefty slap to the face. These guys made some of the most iconic, influential music in hip-hop history. Individually they were already amazing. Together they were like the Justice League with the ability to go Super Sayian.
All ten of these legends worked on each other’s musical projects and supported each other with their talents. Classic example: Common’s The Light, produced by J Dilla starring Erykah Badu as his love interest (Common and Erykah actually dated too).
Another example: Mos Def and Talib Kweli joined forces to create Black Star, spawning classic records such as Definition:
And these examples wouldn’t be complete without including a cut from D’Angelo’s Voodoo, his second studio album with large musical contributions from ?uestlove, J Dilla, and frequent studio visits from Erykah Badu, Talib Kweli, and Q-Tip (who had an original verse on D’Angelo’s record Left & Right but everyone thought his verse was wack so he was replaced by Method Man and Redman). If you knew of D’Angelo, you knew how crazy all the women went over this video for Untitled (How Does It Feel).
Hip-hop music over the last 10 years has had a fruitfully complex history, with ever-growing debates and the never-dying two sides, “real hip-hop” vs. “mainstream hip-hop”. We’ve seen the rise of young artists like Chris Brown, Fetty Wap, Future, Meek Mill, A$AP Rocky and Rae Sremmurd, along with artists like Big Sean, Kendrick Lamar, Wale, J Cole, Macklemore, and of course, Toronto’s own King Aubrey, Drizzy Drake (I won’t call him 6 God because I believe that there’s only one God and his name is Yahweh not Drake, but I digress).
This leads me to the reason for this post. With all of these new artists gaining popularity and influencing our younger generations, I think it’s time for the rise of another group: the OG influencers of these new influencers: The resurrection of the Soulquarians, but with all-new cast members, starring:
Phonte, The Neptunes (no not Pharrell, The Neptunes), Jill Scott, Lupe Fiasco, Corrine Bailey Rae, Flying Lotus, The Robert Glasper Experiment, Madlib, Marsha Ambrosius and Kanye West.
I’m not even gonna waste my words justifying this holy union, this Master Class of Magnificence. It’s gon’ be lit.