Talib Kweli's "Get By," his latest single and a musical social commentary, has proven to be an anthem almost anybody can relate to.
The chorus goes: "This morning I woke up/ Feeling brand new, and I jumped up/ Feeling my highs and my lows/ In my soul and my goals/ Just to stop smokin' and stop drinkin'/ And I've been thinkin', I've got my reasons/ Just to get by, just to get by."
The theme has resonated with listeners and radio programmers, and "Get By" has become one of Kweli's most played records. Though happy about the success, he said it shouldn't have taken so long for the airwaves to recognize him.
"It's real interesting," Kweli said about the reaction the song's been getting. "Wherever I go, people are like, 'I love the record,' and people are supporting the record. But the media and the [radio] industry are not going to give you your props right away. The deck is stacked against an artist they don’t play all the time. It's a lose/lose situation. I mean, I feel blessed to express myself and travel around the world and feed my family ... [but] the love from real people [is what I really] appreciate."
And while the message of "Get By" is universal, the Brooklyn MC's latest efforts are more about collaborating with guys from his hometown. Kweli is going on tour with Fabolous and going into the studio with Jay-Z.
"I don’t know exactly what [Jay-Z and I] are gonna do," he said. "I met Jay when he would show up at Roots shows last year. [We talked] when they did Carnegie Hall. Then there's connection with Kanye [West]. Kanye does a lot of his beats, he does a lot of my beats. Then we went on the Sprite [Liquid Mix] tour."
Talib, who just finished up a stint on the Electric Circus tour with Common, is going on MTV's Campus Invasion outing next week with Fabolous (see "Fabolous, Talib Kweli, The Used Coming To A Campus Near You"), and then he'll head out on the Vans Warped Tour (see "Warped Tour Dates Announced, 17 More Bands Added") and the second Sprite Liquid Mix tour.
"We're just going to do it Brooklyn style," Talib said of hitting the road with Fab. "He represents one aspect of the game in Brooklyn, I represent another. I enjoy Fabolous' music, I enjoy his work ethic, I look forward to it. College kids are up on their music and they real fans. It's going to be real fun, especially around springtime."
When he's not on the road, Talib hopes to begin recording his next LP. He's already writing and listening to tracks, but he hopes to get even more beats from Hi-Tek. The two collaborated on the LP Reflection Eternal in 2000.
"The relationship with Hi-Tek is something I always enjoyed," he said. "If it were up to me, he would have done the whole [Quality] album. It wasn’t up to me. He made certain decisions. I want to have Hi-Tek on as much as possible."
Another person Talib is looking to sequester in the studio again is Mos Def. He said they'll definitely record another Black Star album, but there's no start date scheduled (see "Talib Kweli Promises New Black Star LP, Rejoices At Demise Of Bling Bling").