Almost a year in the making, Black Star’s Mos Def and Talib Kweli are finally set to release their “Hip-Hop For Respect” benefit maxi-single, featuring appearances from Rza, Common, Pras from the Fugees, De La Soul’s Pos, Cappadonna, and EPMD’s Parrish Smith, among others.Sessions for the single were held last April at Sony Music Studios in New York City (see “Common, De La Soul, Cappadonna Join Black Star For Anti-Brutality Track” ) when Mos Def and Talib Kweli asked some of their hip-hop friends to participate in taking a musical stance against police brutality. The rappers recorded four songs to protest the seemingly senseless killings of 19-year-old Tyesha Miller by authorities in Riverside, California in December 1998, and the slaying of 22-year-old Amadou Diallo by New York City police in February 1999. Outkast’s production crew Organized Noize produced the “Hip-Hop For Respect” maxi-single, which will be
released on March 14. Proceeds from the single will be donated to the Hip-Hop For Respect Foundation, a non-profit group that seeks to educate youths on what to do when stopped by police officers. The video to “One For Love, Pt. 1,” a new cut from Black Star, Common, Kool G Rap, Pos, Rah Digga, Pharoahe Monch, Sporty Thieves, and Shabaam Sahdeeq, will hit the airwaves on February 28. The announcement of the maxi-single’s pending release comes at a rather critical juncture in the Diallo trial, as jurors in Albany, New York are expected to begin deliberating on the case sometime this week, possibly as early as Wednesday.