Talib Kweli Says It Doesn’t Get Any More Underground Than Macklemore

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Talib Kweli sat down for an interview with Mother Jones recently that touched on a variety of topics, including stop-and-frisk, feminism and homosexuality in hip-hop. Towards the end of the conversation, he also gave big props to a fellow artist and future tour partner: Macklemore.

Responding to a question about progressive hip-hop finding a place in the mainstream, Kweli was quick to cite the VMA-winning “Same Love” rapper. “There are conscious elements all through pop music,” explained Kweli. “Macklemore, Ryan Lewis are the best example; they made a completely conscious, underground hip-hop, indie album. It doesn’t get any more underground, conscious or indie than Macklemore, Ryan Lewis, but because they got a couple of really big pop hits, actually some of the biggest pop hits that hip-hop has ever seen, people are missing that part of their story. People are not counting that blessing.”

The interview also found Kweli speaking about hip-hop’s growing acceptance of homosexuality. While acknowledging that homophobia still persists, Kweli sounded hopeful about the future.

“There just needs to be a gay rapper,” said the Prisoner Of Conscious rapper. “He doesn’t have to be flamboyant, just a rapper who identifies as gay—who’s better than everybody. Unfortunately hip-hop is so competitive that in order for fringe groups to get in, you gotta be better than whoever’s the best. So before Eminem, the idea that there would be a white rapper that anybody would really check for was fantastic or amazing or impossible.”

Check out the whole interview over at Mother Jones.