On this day, Nov. 19, in hip-hop history...

2002: Initially making his way on the scene with appearances on Mood's Doom album in 1995 and later linking up with fellow Brooklyn native Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) as the group Black Star, Talib Kweli decided to take the a different approach to his music. Diving toward a more mainstream sound, Kweli released his first solo album Quality, produced by DJ Quik, Kanye West, the Soulquarians, Ayatollah, and DJ Scratch.

Under Rawkus Records, Kweli released the 15-track hip-hop album that would later act as a staple in the rapper's career. When asked why he chose Quality as the name for his first solo project Kweli said this to Rollingstone,

It was just the best way of trying to describe what I wanted to do. The word just fit. I'm trying to focus on quality over quantity.

Three main singles were released from the album including "Good To You," "Waiting For The DJ," and the most notable song from project, "Get By," produced by Kanye West. As popularity grew around the single, many rappers were eager to jump on the remix including Yasiin Bey (Most Def), Jay Z, Yeezy, and Busta Rhymes. To make the album complete, Kweli also collaborated with artists like Xzibit, Black Thought, Pharoahe Monch, Res, Novel, Kendra Ross, Bilal, and Dave Chappelle.

16 years later, Quality remains a significant and artistic breaking point, not only in Talib Kweli's career and in hip-hop. Merging old school with new school, samples and inspiration on the album drew from artists like The Temptations, Nina Simone, Al Green, and Gap Mangione. The album dabbles in different genres (hip-hop, rock, reggae, classical soul) of music that allowed a unique platform of endless possibilities to ignite with each song. In its entirety, Quality received wide spread critical acclaim for its diverse content and Kweli's lyrical deliverance. To this day, Quality still holds the title of being one of the most essential albums in hip-hop history.

Rawkus Records
Rawkus Records

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