Black Star is an American Hip Hop duo, formed in 1997, from Brooklyn, New York. The duo is composed of artists, Mos Def and Talib Kweli.
Black Star arose from the underground Hip Hop movement of the late 1990s, which was in large part due to Rawkus Records, an independent record label stationed in New York City. They released one album, Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star on August 26, 1998. The record received critical acclaim, but only moderate commercial success. Black Star (and other members of the Native Tongues Posse) helped shape underground alternative rap, bringing it into the mainstream. Both Mos Def and Talib Kweli’s solo careers have continued with both commercial and critical success.
Black Star’s content is deeply rooted in social consciousness and political issues. The project was released in the wake of the deaths of both The Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur, during which an adolescent Hip Hop culture suffered in the vacuum of iconic leadership provided by Smalls and Shakur. Black Star attempted to reconcile these tensions in their songs “Definition” and “Re: Definition” which share the same lyrics: “I said one, two, three / It’s kinda dangerous to be an emcee / They shot Tupac and Biggie / Too much violence in hip-hop, why-ooo”
In the summer of 2011 Black Star headlined the Rock the Bells Festival, which also included Miss Lauryn Hill, Cypress Hill, Nas, and Raekwon & Ghostface. They performed their entire 1998 LP.
The duo continues to tour, globally.