You have to love a super-group that works and comes true. Legendary Brooklyn M.C. and rapper Talib Kweli formed a group with Philadelphia neo-soul singer Res in 2008. They called this group Idle Warship and with former member Toronto rapper Graph Nobel they released a darling of a debut mixtape for free (Party Robot) featuring some stunning singles (Screamin‘, Black Snake Moan, Steady and Fall Back). Now three years after their inception, the duo who have collaborated on many classic Kweli songs before since his 2000 debut (Too Late, Where Do We Go, We Got The Beat, Soul Music, Everything Man and most recently Back Again) finally release their long-awaited and anticipated debut album Habits Of The Heart.
You have to love ‘Habits’. Experimental hip hop soul that haters will hate and lovers will … well you get it. This is Lucy Pearl with balls and rhymes. The die-hards are going to go nuts. It’s not hard to tell that these two top stars are on the top of their respective games. Their last two independent albums (Kwe’s Gutter Rainbows and Res’ Black.Girls.Rock) furthered the two individual talents, showing just how much they stand alone and stand out. Now together they reach all new heights, from the Latin-loving Enemy opener to the classy, crazy closer Driving Me Insane or the up-top, hot Burning Desire for those iTunes aficionados.
The lead single Laser Beams furthers the lightening strike of this energetic, electronic dance, electrohop duo. For 40 relentless, rap and R&B revolutionary minutes the pair get stuck into the ‘Habits Of The Heart’ with a knife and fork like the woman on the album’s artwork. Covering all genre-bending, envelope-pushing bases, the pair hit-hard on the decks of clubs with The Floor. From the praised God Bless My Soul to the fast-paced, city slicking Rat Race and the gorgeously good Beautifully Bad, the pair rock over guitars, soul and funk.
When this collaborative effort features more guest spots, this album comes together all the more completely. Kay Cola rocks like Incubus on Are You In, while Jay Knocka goes hard on System Addict; but once again it’s Kweli’s rhyming partner Jean Grae who steals the show, showing she really is a super-talent to marvel at. Frequent collaborators Chester French and John Forte make record assisting dreams come true on Covered in Fantasy. Katya is another shining, creative gem featuring Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child. Throughout this album it’s clear this rapper and singer were meant to be together. From Talib Kweli’s intelligent, complex, classic, put-together lyrics to Res’ charismatic, classy and sultry singing after all these years lying idle on record company shelving, this Warship is finally ready to set sail … and what a maiden voyage.