On Monday, August 22, hip hop artist Talib Kweli will headline a concert at the Lampost in Oak Bluffs. He will be joined by The Perceptionists, G-Free, Mr. Burns, and K’Valentine.
Kweli came out of New York and on to the national scene in the late 1990s as half of the duo Black Star, alongside Mos Def. The group was part of the “conscious” hip-hop movement, combining positive, afrocentric themes with street sensibilities and hard-hitting production. In a world still reeling from the violent deaths of Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur, this music presented a breath of fresh air. In the song “Definition,” Black Star raps: “Best alliance in hip hop, Y-O/ I said one, two, three/ It’s kinda dangerous to be an MC/ They shot 2Pac and Biggie/ Too much violence in hip hop, Y-O.”
Black Star released the critically acclaimed album “Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star” in 1998, launching both rappers’ solo careers. Since then, they have sporadically reunited for singles and concert appearances. Kweli has released two albums with DJ Hi-Tek as “Reflection Eternal,” along with seven solo albums, numerous mixtapes, and a live album, both on major labels and his own independent label Javotti Media. He has collaborated with stars from Kanye West to Mary J. Blige to Kendrick Lamar. His most recent album was 2013s “Gravitas.”
On his website, Kweli writes, “I’m a touring artist. I’m an artist that’s internationally known. I’m not just a local artist at this point in my career. I’m cognizant of the fact that what I do is beyond where it started. I’m trying to reach the apex of where I am now, but without turning my back on or dismissing what I’ve done before.”
His current tour includes international dates in Europe and Brazil, which makes the small show at the Lampost pretty special. In addition to K’Valentine, a Chicago artist whose single “She” was released on Kweli’s Javotti Media label, Kweli will be joined by regional talent.
The Perceptionists are a duo comprised of Boston favorites Akrobatic and Mr. Lif. Along with producer DJ Fakts One, they released the album “Black Dialogue” in 2005. AV Club called the album “an impassioned 12-track hip hop manifesto.”
“I love the Island component,” Akrobatic said of performing on the Vineyard. “It’s so refreshing; the air, the people, the food. It’s a beautiful part of my home state that I rarely get to see.”
Mr. Burns may be a familiar face to music fans on the Vineyard. He is a member of Vermont-based hip-hop group The Lynguistic Civilians. They have played the Vineyard on numerous occasions, including a set at last year’s MV Sound Festival. He just released his debut solo album “Raised Right.”
“Just to travel to the Vineyard is special,” the rapper said. “The second you step off the ferry and arrive is a memorable moment in itself. Then, to be able to perform at a great venue like the Lampost is amazing.”
He describes Talib Kweli as a hugely influential artist who has inspired through “not only the classic albums he has made both collaborating and solo, but the social activism he has demonstrated throughout his career.”
G-Free is a Falmouth-based artist who released his debut album “Da Wild Child” this year. He will be joined by his brother DJ Hi Yella. He said the diverse crowds are a big reason he loves performing on the Vineyard.
He has a point — Vineyard nights belong to live music.
Talib Kweli at the Lampost: Monday, August 22. Doors open at 8 pm. Show is at 10 pm. Tickets are $25 pre-sale and $30 the day of. 21-plus. For tickets go to talibkweliliveonmvlamposthgmg.brownpapertickets.com.