Talib Kweli Beats New 'Drum'

Rapper Talib Kweli's next solo album, "Ear Drum," will be the first release under his newly formed Blacksmith Music/Warner Bros. imprint.

Rapper Talib Kweli's next solo album, "Ear Drum," will be the first release under his newly formed Blacksmith Music/Warner Bros. imprint. Due later this year, the set features guest appearances from rhyming partner Hi-Tek, UGK's Bun B and Pimp C and Raheem DeVaughn, among others.

The first single is "Listen"; other album cuts include "More Or Less" featuring Hi-Tek and "Country Cousins" featuring UGK and Raheem DeVaughn.

The rapper says the new offering is an extension of his typically revolutionary rhymes. "The vast majority of my subject matter focuses on black self-love, black self esteem, black self=worth," he says. "That translates to other communities because if you're a human being, it doesn't matter what color you're talking about. You've been through some sort of struggle and you can apply it to your own life."

Also in the works from Kweli's Blacksmith artists are projects by rappers Jean Grae and Strong Arm Steady, whose members include Xzibit, Phil the Agony, Krondon and Mitchy Slick. "With Blacksmith, I want it to be a flag that everyone can wave," says Kweli.

Kweli will be on the road for the majority of September, including shows in Hamburg (Sept. 11), Paris (Sept. 13) and London (Sept. 14).