Since his major-label debut in 1998 (alongside Mos Def), Talib Kweli has become one of the most highly esteemed emcees in the alternative hip-hop category. Despite some criticism, Kweli's coarse vocals and skillfully off-kilter delivery make him one of the more recognizable voices in hip-hop. Although the Brooklyn native has been stamped with the oft-scorned label of being a conscious rapper, his music cannot be defined so easily. Kweli continually experiments, tweaks and redefines his sound — as evidenced by the contrast between the mainstream sensibilities of 2007's Eardrum versus the grittier underground flavor of this year's independently released Gutter Rainbows. Fred the Godson (one of XXL's 2011 Freshmen) and Earthworms are also scheduled to perform.
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