Two hip hop legends Talib Kweli and Diamond D have teamed up to produce a new album simply called Gotham. What makes this slightly confusing is the new collaboration group is called: Talib Kweli & Diamond D Are Gotham. The pair have released the single “Attention Span” which features Skyzoo, along with a music video to accompany it.
On first impressions, this is subdued likely because it was filmed during the pandemic–but again, minimalism can still be powerful in its own way.
The song is extremely thought provoking; immediately pushing us to think about our role in society, why we go along with it, and furthermore why we don’t treat ourselves any better. Essentially asking, why are we toiling for a paycheck that doesn’t even cover our most fundamental basic needs? With so many distractions (not just with politics and media, but with constant bombardment of ads trying to sell items no one really needs), it’s easy to get distracted and lose focus on what’s really important, perhaps not just a livable wage but quality of life; and quality of life doesn’t equate to more items. This is a powerful message and song to get behind.
Kweli explains why he chose to work with Diamond D and of the Gotham project itself, “One of the first well-known producers to ever show me love in this music business was the legend Diamond D. I was raised on his music, from his solo work to the incredible contributions he’s made on the albums of others like Big L, Yasiin Bey, A Tribe Called Quest, Fat Joe, Fugees, and many others. As a Bronx native, his sound represents the best, most original hip-hop in the world. New York City–my city, in the DC Universe, Gotham, is located somewhere in New Jersey. But in real life, the Gotham from the Batman comics is 100% based in New York City. New York City was nicknamed Gotham before Batman was created, and this Gotham project is dedicated to Old New York. This documentation is necessary, especially in these pandemic lockdown times. The great cities of the world will never be the same after what we are currently experiencing. It’s the duty of those who actually lived it to tell those stories. New York will never not be great, but the New York we are talking about in Gotham is not for everybody. If it’s for you, then you are down by law.”
Diamond D explained his work on the album, “Talib was in L.A. for a while working and I sent him about ten tracks in total. When I saw him in L.A. a few weeks later, he had already recorded about eight demos. He told me that when he heard the tracks, sonically, they took him back to NYC and that organic mind space really inspired him to write and record. That’s the catalyst which induced the formation of Gotham. I look forward to hearing what the fan’s favourite tracks are from the project.”
The album features collaborations with Busta Rhymes, Skyzoo, John Forte, NIKO IS and Nire’ Alldai and available now.
Photo by Alyssa Fried.