Originally due last year, Talib Kweli's sixth album, "Ear Drum," is now back on the schedule for a July 24 release via his own Blacksmith Music label.

Originally due last year, Talib Kweli's sixth album, "Ear Drum," is now back on the schedule for a July 24 release via his own Blacksmith Music label/Warner Bros.

The MC is joined by a host of big-name contributors on the album, including producers will.i.am, Madlib, Hi-Tek and Kanye West. Norah Jones, UGK and labelmate Jean Grae make guest appearances.

"We need to challenge our audience, but we also need to challenge ourselves to know that whatever our new experiences are, we can write about them, be creative and bring that to an audience without them feeling alienated," Kweli says in a statement.

The first single is "Hot Thing." The set also includes the Jones-assisted "Soon the New Day" and "Say Something," featuring Grae.

Kweli's "Get By," produced by West for his 2002 gold-certified "Quality" album, was his biggest mainstream success to date; the track peaked at at No. 16 on the Hot Rap Tracks chart. West also worked on Kweli's "The Beautiful Struggle," released in 2004.

Kweli is winding down his sting on the Virgin College Mega Tour, which concludes tonight (May 3) in Columbus, Ohio, and Saturday in Providence, R.I.

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