Vintage: Talib Kweli, Pharoahe Monch & Last Emperor’s Tim Westwood Freestyle

blame it on Meka December 10, 2015

Tim Westwood has spent some time been digging into his digital crates recently, treating and delighting rap heads with classic freestyles from everyone from JAY Z (from 1999) to Raekwon (from 1995) to DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince (from 1987!). For his latest magic trick, however, he drops off something a bit more recent: a cypher between Talib Kweli, Pharoahe Monch and Last Emperor in 2001, during the Rawkus Records heyday and while Emperor was signed to Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Records.

Using the instrumental for Erick Sermon’s Marvin Gaye-sampling “Music” as their backdrop, the freestyle session is a nostalgic trip through backpacker time. Well before rap’s digital era and in the beginning stages of Southern hip hop’s takeover on the culture, Talib, Pharoahe and Emperor once had the underground world reaching for their leather African medallions like it was the Native Tongue era all over again.