Rapper Kweli raps capitalism

Rapper Talib Kweli's new album, F**k The Money, can be downloaded for free from his website.
Rapper Talib Kweli's new album, F**k The Money, can be downloaded for free from his website.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

NEW YORK • Politically charged rapper Talib Kweli on Saturday released a musical indictment of capitalism and, true to his principles, he gave it away for free.

The New York rapper, known for his left-wing activism, put out with no prior warning a new album titled F**k The Money, which listeners can download for free from his website.

As its name implies, the title song attacks the role of money in society - including in hip-hop, where many stars are eager to show off their lavish lifestyles.

"Now our greed dangerous as a heart condition/Rap niggas lie like politicians," Kweli raps.

"Money makes niggas break promises/Money turn niggas into pharmacists," he says, referring to drug-dealing.

The song, set to a synth-laden beat, is a collaboration with Cassper Nyovest, one of the leading rappers in South Africa.

Nyovest boasts in the song that he is "Africa's number one" and declares, "There's niggas richer than me who still wish they were me".

The album - which follows Kweli's release just a month ago of the compilation Train Of Thought: Lost Lyrics, Rare Releases & Beautiful B-Sides Vol. 1 - also features a guest appearance by a notable non-hip-hop figure - Patrick Stump, frontman of alternative rockers Fall Out Boy.

On Saturday, Kweli said the album had already been downloaded a million times. He is known for his outspoken views against police brutality and has been active after recent deaths of African Americans at the hands of officers.

In one of his more controversial views, he has said he does not vote because he does not believe an individual can produce change in a system he sees as thoroughly corrupted by money.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 17, 2015, with the headline 'Rapper Kweli raps capitalism'. Print Edition | Subscribe