At least you don’t have to spend $200 on a Stem Player to get your hands on Black Star’s second album. And hey, with 24 years between records, no one can accuse the duo of rushing “No Fear of Time,” unlike other projects. After years of failed attempts to drive subscriptions with album release exclusives, however, Black Star’s latest is arriving on Luminary, of all places.
The app arrived on the scene two years ago with a boatload of funding and the goal of becoming the Netflix of podcasting. Its debut was met with pushback from some of the industry’s biggest names with its “podcasts don’t need ads” messaging. As a result, it launched without some of the industry’s biggest names.
Like Netflix before it, Luminary has pushed on with original content, signing on names like Trevor Noah, Roxane Gay and Russell Brand. As it happens, Black Star’s Yasiin Bey and Talib Kweli co-host the show “The Midnight Miracle with Dave Chappelle on the podcast network (weird coincidence, I realize). Which will be serving up some supplementary content ahead of the album’s release.
The duo’s first album, “Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star,” became a bona fide all-time hip-hop classic following its release in 1998. The duo have continued to collaborate over the years, including an appearance in Chappelle’s 2006 Michel Gondry-directed documentary “Block Party,” but ultimately a second album would prove more elusive than “Chinese Democracy.” But unlike that album, the latest Black Star is produced by Madlib, not Axl Rose — a definite point in its favor.
“About 3-4 years ago I was visiting Yasiin in Europe and we started to talk about songs to do on an album, so I flew an engineer out just to see what that would be,” Kweli says of the new album. Once I realized this conversation is starting to organically become a creative conversation, I started making sure to have the engineer around at all times. There was one day we were just in a hotel listening to Madlib beats, and he’s like ‘Play that Madlib tape again.’ I’m playing the beats and he starts doing rhymes to the beats. And that’s how we did the first song.”
“No Fear of Time” arrives May 3, exclusively on Luminary.