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as Mos Def. The pair of New Yorkers became two of the most noteworthy voices in what's sometimes called "conscious" rap.

Today, Bey and Kweli's second album as Black Star, No Fear of Time, will debut via the subscription podcast platform Luminary. It's an unusual place to release music, but Talib Kweli says it is a statement about artists getting both the respect and the pay that they deserve.

"People spend money on things that are important to them," he says. "But when you ask them to support art, they balk. Because why wouldn't somebody go to a Spotify where you could pay $10 to hear any song you want? The onus is on me as the creator to figure out and set the price point and tell the people what my art is worth."


This conversation has been edited and condensed. To hear the broadcast version, use the audio player at the top of this page.

Leila Fadel, Morning Edition: This album is a return to some of Black Star's themes — black excellence, unity, confronting racism, Pan-Africanism, elevating consciousness. How do you see these themes resonating today in a world that is markedly different than it was 24 years ago?

Talib Kweli, Black Star: Sure, I agree with that. Social media, I think more than anything we've seen in our lifetime, has changed the landscape and changed the conversation. The fans have a lot more access to the artists, and so that can be a gift and that can be a curse. I've experienced both gift and curse when it comes to that.

I'm glad that you mentioned Pan-Africanism in particular. Black Star — we're named for the honorable Marcus Garvey, famously a Jamaican immigrant who came to America and was trying to build ships, the Black Star Line, to get Americans back to Africa. [That] is the sort of beginning of Pan-Africanism and a push for reparations. So with Black Star, we've always been about hip-hop, about Pan-Africanism, spirituality, all these things that are necessary for the liberation of our people. And I think it's timely that we come back now.

Cover art for Black Star's No Fear of Time. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Courtesy of the artist

Releasing this album in this moment where we've seen the reinvigoration of the Movement for Black Lives, but also an extreme reaction to it, to stop it. What is the message here?

The messaging on the Black Star album, the first one [Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star, released in 1998], resonates now. And we weren't saying anything that much different than, you know, people like Amiri Baraka in the Black Arts movement and what Nina Simone was saying onstage towards the end of her career. We stand tall on the shoulders of our ancestors. The canon of black art is amazing, and it is the lifeblood of all great art that comes from America in particular. Black people in America have been the moral compass, and we have been the ones who have elevated the art and we have been the ones who have made the most original American things.

Black Star started in Brooklyn, but at this point we are citizens of the world, and I feel like this album represents that type of growth for us.

I mean, maybe it's because I was listening in Ramadan, but the record felt really spiritual, addressing the fleetingness of this life, about the coming of the afterlife.

You're right on point with that. I mean, I have a decidedly Muslim name — I don't call myself a Muslim, but I definitely align with Islam in many, many ways. And many of my closest friends, from Dave Chappelle to Yasiin Bey, are Muslims.

Yasiin is very open about his Muslim identity. It's very much a part of his art.

Absolutely — to the point where we were supposed to release this album earlier, but he refused to release it during Ramadan. He said, "I don't want to distract my fellow Muslims from focusing on Ramadan." He stood his ground on that, where people were like, "No, we have to release it now." He's like, "Nope, I'm not releasing it now." As a writer, Yasiin is always trying to get closer to God. He starts all his albums with the Basmala. And me as his partner, I write different. His focus on spirituality helps me as a man and makes me write with a different sort of intentionality.

Is there a particular track off this new album that represents what Black Star is?

Mmhmm. The title track, "No Fear of Time." We're laying out a manifesto, and we sample a speech by Greg Tate, rest in peace, [who is] sort of our OG. He [was] a journalist, and the world that Greg Tate was describing — Black Star, we're the children of that world.

I want to go back to how you're releasing the album and the statement that you're making with it, but it's also a risk putting your music behind a paywall like that.

It's a risk for who?

I mean, maybe that's the wrong question. But putting it behind a paywall means...

That means the artists get paid. If you are truly a fan of Black Star, then you will respect the fact that what made sense for us, business-wise, was for us to put it on Luminary and get paid regardless of what happens in the music business. If you bought the Black Star album in the last 20 years, you paid Universal Records, which is one of the biggest companies on Earth. You know who you did not pay? You did not pay Black Star, because we didn't see any of that money. You know, people come and say, "Hey, what about what I want? I want the vinyl. I want it on Spotify. I want..." What you want does not matter. Know what I'm sayin'? What Black Star wants matters.

What would you say is the main message of this album?

I would say that the main message is "no fear of time" — to not let time, money, clout, trends dictate how you move. And to be closer to whatever your core is, whether it's a belief in God, whether it's a set of morals that you follow. Getting closer to what your core is.

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Postcards from Sonoma County...
        ... What people are talking about, direct from the locals.
 
Each week, our correspondents from all over Sonoma County check in with a weekly "postcard" of what people are talking about in their area. Not always "news," but still worthy of a mention. It's our way to give voice to communities that may not make it into the everyday news cycle.
 
We play these in a random rotation throughout the week. Each postcard airs from Sunday morning at midnight through Saturday at 11:59:59 pm.
 
We archive all our postcards here. Have a listen!
 

Week of April 3, 2022
 
 
Greetings from Petaluma
 
 
Greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
More greetings from Sebastopol
 
  
Greetings from the Lower Russian River
 
  
Greetings from Healdsburg
 
 
Greetings from Sebastopol
 
 
 
 

Week of Sunday, March 27, 2022
 
Greetings from the Lower Russian River
 
 
Greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
Greetings from Sebastopol
 
 
More greetings from Sebastopol
 
 
Greetings from Healdsburg
 
 
Greetings from Petaluma
 
 
 

Week of Sunday, March 20, 2022
 
Greetings from the Lower Russian River
 
 
Greetings from Healdsburg
 
 
Greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
Greetings from Sebastopol
 
 
Greetings from Petaluma
 
 
 

Week of Sunday, March 13, 2022:
 
Greetings from the Lower Russian River
 
 
Greetings from Healdsburg
 
 
Greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
Greetings from Petaluma
 
 
 

Week of Sunday, March 6, 2022:
 
Greetings from the Lower Russian River
 
 
Greetings from Petaluma
 
 
Greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
Greetings from Sebastopol
 
 
 
 
 

Week of Sunday, February 27, 2022:
 
Greetings from Healdsburg
 
 
Greetings from the Lower Russian River
 
 
Greetings from Petaluma
 
 
Greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
More greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
 

Week of Sunday, February 20, 2022:
 
Greetings from the Lower Russian River
 
 
Greetings from Healdsburg
 
 
Greetings from Windsor
 
 
Greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
Greetings from Petaluma
 
 
 
 

Week of Sunday, February 6, 2022:
 
Greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
Greetings from Sebastopol
 
 
Greetings from Healdsburg
 
 
Greetings from the Lower Russian River
 
 
Greetings from Petaluma
 
 
 

Week of Sunday, January 30, 2022:
 
Greetings from Healdsburg
 
 
Greetings from the Lower Russian River
 
 
Greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
More greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
Greetings from Windsor
 
 
Greetings from Petaluma
 
 
Greetings from Sebastopol
 
 

Week of Sunday, January 23rd, 2022:
 
Greetings from the Lower Russian River
 
 
Greetings from Windsor
 
 
Greetings from Petaluma
 
 
Greetings from Healdsburg
 
 
Greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
Greetings from Sebastopol
 
 
 
 

Week of Sunday, January 16, 2022:
 
Greetings from the Lower Russian River
 
 
Greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
Greetings from Sebastopol
 
 
Greetings from Petaluma
 
 
Greetings from Windsor
 
 
Greetings from Healdsburg
 
 
 
 

 Week of Sunday, January 9th, 2022:
 
Greetings from Healdsburg
 
 
Greetings from the Lower Russian River
 
 
Greetings from Petaluma
 
 
Greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
Greetings from Sebastopol
 
 
Greetings from Windsor
 
 
 
 

 
Week of Sunday, January 2nd, 2022:
 
Greetings from the Lower Russian River
 
 
Greetings from Petaluma
 
 
Greetings from Rohnert Park
 
 
Greetings from Windsor
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Savoring Sonoma shorts with Clark Wolf
Clark Wolf publicityClark Wolf is a nationally recognized, James Beard Award-winning food and restaurant consultant, author, and columnist who now lives in what he calls “the Eden of All the Earth," in a 100-year-old logger’s cabin in the Redwoods of Sonoma County.
 
Savoring Sonoma is a weekly 60-second snapshot of what's importantly delicious in Sonoma County.
Each week, you'll hear two new episodes.
 
Episodes are archived here.
 
 
 
Avocados_Wk13a
 
 
Artichokes_Wk13b
 
 
Radishes_Wk12a
 
 
Snow Peas & Shoots_Wk12b
 
 
Pixie Tangerines_Wk11a
 
 
After Fat Friday_Wk11b
 
 
Asparagus_Wk10a
 
 
Morell Mushrooms_Wk10b
 
 
Root Vegetables_Wk9a
 
 
Fondue_Wk9b
 
 
  Mac & Cheese_Wk8a
 
 
  Cherries_Wk8b
 
 
Wk7b_Veggie starts
 
 
Wk7a_Honey
 
 
Wk6_Roses
 
 
Wk5a_Meyer Lemons
 
 
Wk5b_Ice Cream in Winter
 
 
  Wk4a_Arugula
 
 
Wk4b_Mustard Greens
 
 
Persimmons
 
 
Sonoma County cheeses
 
 
Joys of fermentation
 
 
Winter squash
 
 
Pomegranates
 
 
Dungeness crab 2
 
 
Olive oil
 
 
Local Sonoma County meats
 
 
Mushrooms
 
 
Bodega Red potatoes
 
 
Local eggs
 
 
Dungeness crab
 
 
Should healthy food cost more?
Read More
The Sonoma County ArtBeat
                                      With Satri Pencak
 
 
Satri picSatri Pencak is an independent art curator with an M.A. in Art History. She writes about the visual arts for her website, www.satripencak.com, her Facebook Blog, and other publications.
 
Satri loves knowing what’s going on in the art world and sharing her knowledge and enthusiasm with others.
 
All episodes are archived here:
 
 
 
Week of April 3, 2022
 
 
Week of March 27, 2022
 
 
  Week of March 20, 2022
 
 
Week of March13, 2022
 
 
 Week of March 6, 2022
 

 Week of February 27, 2022
 
 
  Week of February 20, 2022
 
 
  Week of February 13, 2022
 
 
Week of February 6, 2022
 
 
Week of January 30, 2022
 
 
Week of January 23, 2022
 
 
 
 
Week of December 19, 2021
 
 
Week or January 2, 2022
 
 
Week of January 9, 2022
 
 
Week of January 16, 2022
 
 
 
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thumbnail FirstNews logoA weekday early morning podcast that offers a first look at the top local news stories and weather forecast you need to start your day.

Sonoma County news stories featuring the latest in breaking news, county government, elections, environment, cultural happenings, and updates on your communities, from Petaluma to Cloverdale, and from Sonoma to Bodega Bay, and everyplace in between.

Subscribe to the Sonoma County First News podcast through our website, the NorCal Mobile App, NPR Podcasts, NPR One, iTunes/Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. 

 
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farm trails logoWelcome to Farm Tales.
               Stories from and about Sonoma County Farm Trails members.
 
 
Celebrating farms forever in Sonoma County.
 
For more information visit farmtrails.org.
 
 
 
 
 
Hear archived tales below!
 

 
 
 
Boring Farm - Rachel Boring
 
 
Monte-Bellaria Farm
 
 
Sun Ray Farm - Maggie La Rochelle
 
 
Freestone Ranch - Misty Gay
 

Redwood Hill Farms - Jennifer Bice
 
 
Lala's Jam Bar and Urban Farmstand - Leslie Goodrich
 
 
Cambria Gardens Sebastopol - Garth Watson
 
 
Wiseacre Farm - Farmer Tiffany 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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