DOWNLOAD: Talib Kweli - Cold Rain (prod. Ski Beatz)
One of the first big announcements of the '11 is the upcoming release of Talib Kweli's Gutter Rainbows--out January 25th on Duck Down—the Brooklyn MC's first solo album in four years. Kweli's abilities have already been well-documented, from his auspicious beginnings in Black Star (with Mos Def) and Reflection Eternal (with Hi-Tek) to his prolific solo career. As an MC, the speed of Kweli's flow is made all the more remarkable for how much quotable material it produces (look no further than my high school yearbook). Recalling "Get By," Kweli's gigantic Kanye-produced hit from a few years back, "Cold Rain" has an affective piano run boosted by a galvanizing drum beat, which Ski Beatz tinkers with in his newly characteristic fashion, dropping bass drums where snares need to be and lining up the beat at unexpected moments. The resulting effect is yet another Kweli banger, precisely the right way to start off the new year.