"You're paid by Trump's friend to play tonight," said the sign someone in the crowd picked up. I'm not sure if I got the exact words, as I was behind it, but that's pretty much what it said. And somehow, it seemed like there was no better artist to show it to this night, than Talib Kweli. As soon as it caught his eye, or well, being shown to him by DJ Spintelect, he took a minute to address the matter.
After admitting that he doesn't have about it, but if it's the truth, whoever invited him didn't do any research, he continued by saying that he, in no way supports Trump and his politics. He added that even though he didn't vote for him, as tax-paying American, he still feels partly responsible for what his president does, and he apologizes for it. And then, he finished off by playing the snippet of YG and Nipsey Hussle's 'FDT.' You know which part.
All of this came just a couple of minutes after his speech about hip hop and real hip hop fans. About the importance of inclusivity and fighting racism, bigotry, and nativism every way we can. About protesting against anti-immigration politics and building walls at borders. And why does it all matters? Because this was in Budapest, in the middle of Viktor Orbán's Hungary, the president who actually built the wall with the barbed wire on top of it on Hungary's southern border to stop the immigration. It was important because it's the message that was heard by young people, not only from all over Hungary but all over Europe. And the best thing - there is a chance that Trump's friend paid for it.
Musically, Talib Kweli provided a show worth every minute of watching. Everything started with a short set by DJ Spintelect who paid respect to the greats of the genre - from Tupac Shakur to Kendrick Lamar, before Kweli joined him on stage. In just over an hour, he touched on various phases of his career, including the Blackstar project, but also gave nods to his collaborators from Mos Def and A Tribe Called Quest to Wu-Tang Clan. As expected, the biggest reaction came during the massive performance of 'Get By.'
Delivering hip hop in its truest form, bringing its essence, and showing what it really is, and what it should be. Real hip hop is still out there, it still has a meaning and a message, and Talib is one of the messengers. He was welcomed in Budapest, half a world away from his hometown of Brooklyn, NYC, by the people who share his views and his beliefs. It showed that there are still people who want to raise their voice and break the status quo. It may not be much, but it sure is encouraging.