Talib Kweli On Freestyling, Reading, Black Star And Lauryn Hill

If you came of age in the 90s or early 2000s, backpack or underground hip-hop was likely a large part of the music in your favorite CD binder (and later your iPod). That being the case, one of your favorite rappers was likely Talib Kweli, the Brooklyn-based emcee who rose to fame with his brother-in-rap, Mos Def (aka Yasiin Bey) and other fellow mic rippers like Common Sense and The Roots. Since those years, Kweli, who plays Nectar Lounge July 27, has solidified himself as an important voice when it comes to socially conscious ideas and practices. To preview his upcoming Emerald City show, I caught up with Kweli to ask him about those early years, if he read a lot as a kid and when he first began to write and perform.