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Reflection Eternal “Train of Thought” (Best of the Decade)

It has been nine years (this month) since Train of Thought came out. It is, and will always be, an album that changed the hip hop game (not to mention my personal taste in music). This album marked the first time I heard Talib Kweli, and ever since then he’s been one of my favorite emcees. It was also the first time I heard Hi-Tek’s smooth sailing production. Fans acclimated with Black Star already had a good idea of what to expect from Kweli & Hi-Tek; those who weren’t were in for a rude awakening. This album is a perfect example of everything that makes a classic hip hop record: pristine production and ridiculous rhymes.

Experience Dedication” hits the listener from the jump with Dave Chappelle’s witty impersonation of Nelson Mandela. Hi-Tek & Kweli keep the train moving on “Move Somethin’” where Hi-Tek’s deep drums and horns create a canvas for Kweli to destroy, “What’s up with the mellow drama?/Fellas wanna hover in my cipher like a helicopter/Like it’s a special honor the stealth bomber gem dropper/Make the ghetto holla Inter-Conta-Nental!” “Some Kind of Wonderful” features Kweli delivering blatant battle-stance blows, “I take your style and embarrass it/Words beautifully written like Arabic/Got niggas on the run cuz I bring the fire like chariot/Introduced pen skills to ill deliveries and married it.” One of the definite highlights on the album is the commercially appealing track “The Blast.” On it Kweli spits his usual upper echelon intellect, and for the first time we get to hear Hi-Tek flow over one of his own concoctions.

On top of Kweli & Hi-Tek, the guest appearances on this album are well above average. Despite being absolute monsters by themselves, Kweli & Hi-Tek do a good job of showing that they play well with others. Mos Def & Kweli pass the mics like skilled quarterbacks over Hi-Tek’s funk filled strings on “This Means You.” If you are the type of person that loves punchlines, “Down For the Count” is for you: Kweli, Xzibit & Rah Digga spit so many similes and metaphors that it will leave your head spinning. To top it all off, Talib flows along the members of De La Soul and shows that he can rhyme with some of the all-time best.

Train of Thought is an album that I can easily see myself listening to 10 years from now. This album was so far ahead of its time that a psychic couldn’t even see it coming. With the looming possibility of another Reflection Eternal album in the distant future, I can only ask one question: Can Kweli & Hi-Tek change the game again?

Also: Rock The Bells feat. Reflection Eternal & more @ First Avenue

1 Comment

    Talin Kweli is one of the few artists who is still holding it down as far as lyricism. If you like him, you’ll like us

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