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Black Star

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New York City, NY, USA (1998 – present)

There are, at least, three bands known as Black Star: 1) A USA group (1998-present). 2) An Indonesian experimental rock band 2001-present. 3) A Jamaican reggae band, of the 70’s.

1) A group formed by MCs Mos Def & Talib Kweli. Affiliated with the group is Hi-Tek, who formed producer/MC duo Reflection Eternal with Kweli, for the album Train of Thought & produced a portion of Black Star’s debut album. They’re, also, part of the Native Tongues Posse, a collective that contains, amongst others A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Jungle Brothers, Da Bush Babees & Common.

Black Star arose from the underground movement of the late 1990s, which was in large part due to Rawkus Records, an independent record label stationed in New York City, NY, USA. They released one self titled album. Though the record achieved little commercial success, they (and other members of the Native Tongues Posse) helped shape underground alternative rap and helped bring it further into the mainstream eye. Both have gone on to greater commercial and critical success in separate solo careers.

A sample on the album from the film Chameleon Street has generated the often repeated and often misattributed quote, “I’m a victim brother. I’m a victim of 400 years of conditioning. The man has programmed my conditioning. Even my conditioning has been conditioned!”

Most recently Mos and Kweli appeared together in the movie Dave Chappelle’s Block Party, alongside Jill Scott, Dead Prez and The Fugees, among others. They even contributed a new song, “Born & Raised”, to the movie’s soundtrack.

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