"Talib Kweli isn’t one to hold his tongue on social media, and the Brooklyn rapper became embroiled in a heated exchange with his own fans this week after receiving complaints about the handling of Black Star’sNo Fear of Time album.
Kweli and Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def) delighted listeners last May when they returned with their first project as a duo in 24 years — a nine-song effort produced entirely by Madlib and boasting a guest appearance from Black Thought.
Just over a year after its release, however, a dark cloud has been cast over Black Star’s reunion as fans are unhappy that No Fear of Time has been quietly and abruptly removed from Luminary, the podcast subscription service through which it was exclusively released.
Further aggravating paying fans, the album is now available to purchase on Bandcamp for $9 and will soon be available on vinyl, as Kweli announced on Instagram on Monday (June 26).
As several fans flocked to the comments section of his Instagram post to express their displeasure at being made to paid twice to hear the same album, Talib Kweli confronted the backlash head on.
“Why was it taken off Luminary???” one user asked, to which Kweli responded: “Because luminary don’t own it. We do.”
After a separate fan called his response “a non answer,” the 47-year-old MC hit back with venom.
“Imagine thinking I owe you an explanation for how I release my album that you didn’t make,” he wrote. “I don’t. Our deal with luminary was for three months. We left it up there for a year. That means you got to hear it for free for 7 months. You’re welcome. Now if you wanna buy it you can.”
He added: “If you want to complain instead, you’re proving this album was never for you. I don’t work for you and I actually don’t care whether you hear it or not. I don’t make music for you. I make music for my own mental health. How you feel about that doesn’t matter.”
The fan then pointed out that they had just renewed their $34.99-per-year Luminary subscription under the assumption that they would continue to get exclusive access to No Fear of Time, as well as Kweli’s recently released Liberation 2 LP with Madlib.
“You paid to hear black star for 3 months because that’s what our deal was. You gonna tell me about MY deal? Don’t do that. That’s stupid of you,” Kweli responded. “In addition to being able to hear black star new album for 3 months you got an additional 7 months for free and the midnight miracle and many other great podcasts with what you paid. You’re welcome. Stop crying you look pathetic right now.”
The argument continued with Kweli calling the fan a “facist” and telling him to “fukk off” while denying his suggestion that he was “drunk.”
The war of words didn’t stop there as Talib Kweli clashed with another user who criticized him for being “rude” to his fans and claimed that “there a tons of other great artists that are way better” who don’t make their fans fork out twice for their music.
“I’m not rude to my fans at all. You’re not my fan and you don’t speak for my fans. You’re some goofy liar,” he fired back. “If you want access to the Black Star album that I’m not giving you then go make your own Black Star album dumb ass. Or, keep crying on my page.
“Your tears are delicious. Fake so called ‘fans’ like you are exactly why this album ain’t streaming. Y’all don’t respect art or ownership and y’all treat artists like slaves. fukk you.”
After more back and forth, Kweli added: “I’m not your slave. That means you don’t get to tell me what I should be doing. You are not in charge of me or my art. fukk off fake fan. Go support Nazis with Ye that’s more your speed.”
This is far from the first time that Talib Kweli has got into a shouting match on social media. Last year, the Eardrum lyricist butted heads with former collaborator Consequence over his support of Kanye West following his string of antisemitic comments.
After Kweli invited Cons onto his People’s Party podcast to hash things out, Cons told him: “Let’s not play no stupid games. One minute You Internet Thuggin. Next minute You Want An Interview. Come on beloved @talbikweli What We Doing???”
He continued: “When I saw you with @chrisrock + @davechappelle you expressed that you wanted to put it to bed with YE. So this feels like you trading Integrity for Clout. If you want me to do a sit down with you to be in the ‘Hot Seat’ then call me like a Real One.”
“Let’s be clear. I’m not scared of you at all. Nobody is,” Kweli wrote back on Instagram. “Now to be even more clear, I didn’t approve this ask because I have no desire to interview at all. I didn’t ask anyone to email you and frankly I’m upset that my team sent this email because you are not welcome on my show.”
He added: “Your own queens people don’t fukk with you. Me having you on my show would have me looking sus. Speaking of sus, why have you failed to call out @kanyewest anti black nazi ass rhetoric?”
Back in 2020, Talib Kweli was permanently suspended from Twitter following his alleged harassment of an activist named Maya Moody who had tweeted about Black rappers marrying light-skinned women."