Rising from the underground rap scene in the late-1990s, Talib Kweli's fluid, melodic style and politically active, social conscience has made him one of hip-hop's most respected and influential figures. Born in Brooklyn, New York, his mother was a university professor of English and his father an administrator, yet Talib studied experimental theatre and made his first appearance as a rapper on the album 'Doom' by Hi-Tek and J.Rawls' group Mood in 1997. With producer Hi-Tek and his former high school friend Mos Def he made his name as part of the pioneering group Black Star, and in the wake of the deaths of Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur and the demise of gangsta rap, they were seen as leaders of a new generation of hip-hop stars who drew from the likes of De La Soul and Native Tongues Posse and created a more soulful, studied style. His debut solo album 'Quality' won great critical acclaim and featured his first big signature tune 'Get By', and with a guest appearance on Kanye West's album landmark record 'The College Dropout' and praise from Jay-Z, his stock began to rise. He addressed issues including police brutality and the industrial prison complex in his songs and John Legend and Mary J. Blige both featured on his follow-up 'The Beautiful Struggle' before his third album 'Eardrum' reached number two in the US Charts in 2007. Though the hits didn't roll in, Kweli has continued to be highly regarded for his strong political views and his understanding of the struggles of inner city America. In 2017 he collaborated with fellow rapper Styles P on the album 'The Seven'.