The Ivy League’s resident black radical and pop-scholar phenom Cornel West returns to hipster-hop with the release of his second rap album, Never Forget: A Journey of Revelations, featuring the likes of Prince, Talib Kweli, Andre 3000, KRS-One, Jill Scott, Rhymefest, and the late Gerald Levert. Which is impressive and all, but seriously, where’s Kanye? This is totally up his alley. They even have the same last name!
Professor West’s first album, 2001’s Sketches of my Culture, predicated the professor’s public spat with Harvard ex-prez Larry Summers and the professor’s subsequent break from the university in favor of Princeton. Though his new boss, Princeton president Shirley Tilghman, has yet to comment on Never Forget, West thinks she’ll be hipper to the project than Summers was. In a Boston Globe article West speculates,
“I think she’ll be much more open than Brother Summers,” he says. “The hip-hop scared him. It’s a stereotypical reaction.”
A vocal opponent of misogyny and hedonism in contemporary hip-hop, West portrays his music as a “danceable education” reaching towards the genre’s socially progressive roots. “We’ll go from the bling-bling to Let Freedom Ring” Brother West raps in “Bushonomics,” before giving a shout-out to militant beat poet Gil Scott-Heron. The track features New York MC and black progressive Talib Kweli denouncing “voter registration with no scope of education,” “whore-mongerers,” and “war-mongerers” alike. Listen to it, and Prince collaboration “Dear Mr. Man,” below. Bushonomics Cornel West and Talib Kweli Dear Mr. Man Cornel West and Prince –MAUREEN O’CONNOR