Right About Now: The Official Sucka Free Mix CD

Studio Album by released in 2005
Right About Now: The Official Sucka Free Mix CD's tracklist:
Right About Now
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Drugs, Basketball, & Rap (feat. Planet Asia & Phil da Agony)
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Who Got It
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Fly That Knot (feat. MF DOOM)
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Ms. Hill
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Flash Gordon
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Supreme Supreme (feat. Mos Def)
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The Beast (feat. Papoose)
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Roll Off Me
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Rock On
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Where You Gonna Run (feat. Jean Grae)
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Two & Two
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Right About Now: The Official Sucka Free Mix CD review

Talib Kweli undoubtedly ranks highly among the most respected MCs

Critically acclaimed and respected by hardcore hip-hop fans and MC’s alike, Brooklyn native Talib Kweli has established industry standards for lyrical prowess and dexterity his entire career. A member of legendary groups Black Star (with Mos Def) and Reflection Eternal (with super producer Hi-Tek) as well as a solo artist, Talib Kweli undoubtedly ranks highly among the most respected MCs in the game. Since and even before the debut of Black Star, Talib Kweli and Mos Def have been considered hip-hop saviors. While The Mighty Mos has made rapping his part time job, Kweli has been trying to rescue hip-hop and achieve fans' unrealistic expectations for two solo albums. After last year's The Beautiful Struggle, Talib Kweli has momentarily returned to the independent scene with his Right About Now: The Official Sucka Free Mix CD. Here Kweli delivers a strong batch of songs that are as entertaining as they are thought-provoking. In avoidance of all the drama involved in releasing "the next Talib Kweli album", he's released a mixtape that doesn't carry with it any level of importance, that isn't marked by an ambition to make a big splash or cement a reputation as "classic". Right About Now is a pleasure when it's taken for what it is: not a big statement or a fully polished work of art, but a collection of what could have been and might be.

The beats on Right About Now are stripped-down, rough, and simple

Crisp rhymes, dope beats, and solid sequencing differentiate Right About Now from the typical mixtape. The beats are stripped-down, rough, and simple, without any complicated textures or stylish dressings. Opening with the title track Kweli briefly recounts his rap career throwing some jabs at the music industry along the way. Kweli is at his best mixing vicious one-liners with revolutionary rhymes over the Dave West produced Flash Gordon and The Beast, featuring newcomer Papoose. On the sorrowful Ms. Hill, Kweli shows his appreciation for Lauryn Hill. The mixtape features many heavy hitters from the "underground", but Jean Grae stands out with her scene-stealing verses on the soulful Where Ya Gonna Run. While the disc features some somber songs like Ms. Hill and Two & Two, the MF Doom assisted Fly That Knot and the Black Star reunion on Supreme Supreme will have most fans singing along with the addictive hooks and nodding their heads to beats made for a super hero's theme. Most representative of the album's lyrics overall is probably Who Got It, where Kweli speaks almost exclusively in similes, each one goofier and more creative than the one before it. Roll Off Me finds Jay Dilla weaving a fresh bass-and-piano soundscape around Kweli rhyming about struggles both personal and global.

A chance to witness Kweli's talents in a rawer form

Some may think his step back into the independent world is a downgrade. But on Right About Now, Kweli seems to be free of anxiety, and free of any pressure from the label. After years of problems with major labels, maybe Kweli only needed to return to his indie roots in order to tap into his full potential, because right about now he has never sounded better. Right About Now is a chance to witness Kweli's talents in a rawer form, to hear his music without worrying about whether the album's a classic, without dwelling on whether Kweli has sold out or fallen off. One of the coolest things about the album is that Kweli keeps it lean and mean, both in terms of songs as well as the album's structure. This may be one of the few rap albums in recent memory that keeps the tracklisting to a trim 13, as opposed to overloading the listener with 20-plus songs. Right About Now has all the hallmarks of Kweli's style, and though he has received a fair amount of critical attention, he rejects self-aggrandizing themes to continue rapping about the streets and artists he admires. Much like he’s done with Black Star and Reflection Eternal, Kweli manages to create interesting, inspirational and socially aware music.