Eardrum (album)

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Studio album by Talib Kweli
Released August 21, 2007
Recorded 2006-2007
Genre Alternative hip hop, conscious hip hop
Label Blacksmith Music
Warner Bros. Records
Producer Hi-Tek, Kanye West, Battlecat, Chad Beatz, Terrace Martin, Kwamé, DJ Khalil, Madlib, will.i.am, Pete Rock, Just Blaze, A Kid Called Roots, Sha-La Shakier, Nick Speed, Swiff D
Talib Kweli chronology
The Beautiful Struggle
Revolutions per Minute
Alternative cover
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic (73/100)[1]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[2]
The A.V. Club A−[3]
Entertainment Weekly A[4]
Now 5/5 stars[5]
The Observer 3/5 stars[6]
The Phoenix 3/4 stars[7]
Pitchfork Media (7.4/10)[8]
PopMatters 8/10 stars[9]
RapReviews 9.5/10 stars[10]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[11]

Eardrum is the third solo album by American hip hop artist Talib Kweli. It was released on August 21, 2007, by Blacksmith Records, distributed by Warner Bros. Records. This is his first album to debuted on Warner Bros. Records, along with his own label, Blacksmith Records. It was engineered by Dylan "3-D" Dresdow, Joel Hamilton,[12] Ryan Kennedy, Mike Houge and Dave Dar, among others.[13]


Promoting the album release, Talib has been posted a page on his website, where he describes the whole album track by track, allowing fans to listen to every song coming from the album.[14] The bonus tracks on the international release of the album, which included "Take It Back" featuring Marsha Ambrosius of Floetry (produced by Karriem Riggins) and "Getting My Grown Man On" featuring Little Brother (produced by Midi Mafia), which the song also appeared on Little Brother's mixtape "And Justice for All" mixtape.


Critical response[edit]

Eardrum scored 73 out of 100 from Metacritic based on "generally favorable reviews".[1] Some than most reviews are average or mixed: Uncut gave it a score of three stars out of five and said, "Kweli, whose wordy rhymes can often read better than they flow, sounds nimble and at ease most of the time."[1] Vibe gave it three stars out of five and said it "lacks cohesiveness."[1] Spin gave it a score of five out of ten and said, "Though Kweli can't change his voice he was born with, he needs to figure out how to make it as compelling as his material."[1] Hot Press gave it an above average review, however, and said, "Kweli's collaborative work has set the bar so high that his solo efforts routinely fail to meet these exalted expectations."[15]

Metacritic, XXL gave it a score of XL (the equivalent of four out of five stars) and said, "Unlike 2004’s The Beautiful Struggle, which clumsily juxtaposed grungy backpack beats with basic mainstream medleys, Eardrum is a more sonically cohesive endeavor. Having more fun with the music and ignoring his critics, Talib wants to proves about sometimes, the only one worth listening to is yourself".[16] HipHopDX gave it four stars out of five and said, "There is still room for improvement, but this largely the album from Kweli that everyone has been waiting for."[17] AllHipHop.com gave it a score of 8.5 out of 10 and said it "still delivers enough solid work to be worth checking out no matter what your expectations."[18] About.com gave it a score of four-and-a-half stars out of five and said, "While it's questionable as to whether Eardrum can hold up against his previous classics, it is without a doubt that this is most certainly Talib Kweli’s most effective release to date."[19] AbsolutePunk gave it a score of 74% and said, "Though highly inconsistent due to its extraordinary number of songs, Eardrum impresses as a whole, making the early cop out absolutely unneeded. Talib Kweli refuses to disappoint".[20] Los Angeles Times gave it a favorable review and said, "Kweli's commanding delivery and the well-executed songs on his sixth album... consistently provide pointed commentary... and masterful production".[21]

Commercial performance[edit]

Eardrum debuted at number 2 on the US Billboard 200, selling 60,000 copies in its first week, marking it as Kweli's highest-debuting album to date. In its second week, the album fell down to number 20, selling 25,000 copies, in total of 85,500 copies in the United States.[22]

Track listing[edit]

  • LP Edition #19[23] & iTunes Single[24]
# Title Time Performer(s) Songwriters Producer(s) Samples and notes
1 "Everything Man" 3:16 Talib Kweli, Res
(additional vocals by Sonia Sanchez)
Talib Kweli Greene Madlib
  • "Everything Man" by Daybreak
2 "NY Weather Report" 4:35 Talib Kweli
(scratches by DJ Jazzy Jeff and Cut Chemist)
Talib Kweli Greene Nick Speed
3 "Hostile Gospel Pt. 1 (Deliver Us)" 5:22 Talib Kweli Talib Kweli Greene,
Justin Smith,
Paul Greedus,
Didier Marouani
Just Blaze
4 "Say Something" 3:43 Talib Kweli, Jean Grae Talib Kweli Greene will.i.am
5 "Country Cousins" 4:31 Talib Kweli, UGK, Raheem DeVaughn Talib Kweli Greene A Kid Called Roots, Sha-La Shakier
6 "Holy Moly" 2:08 Talib Kweli Talib Kweli Greene Pete Rock
7 "Eat to Live" 3:07 Talib Kweli Talib Kweli Greene Madlib
  • "Ghetto Lament" by Sylvia Saint James
8 "In the Mood" 3:55 Talib Kweli, Roy Ayers, Kanye West Talib Kweli Greene,
Kanye West,
Brian Potter
Kanye West
9 "Soon the New Day" 4:02 Talib Kweli, Norah Jones Talib Kweli Greene,
Otis Jackson Jr.,
Paul Charles,
John Mason
(co-produced by Eric Krasno)
  • "Sheba's Song" by Paul Charles and John Mason
10 "Give 'Em Hell" 4:27 Talib Kweli, Coi Mattison, Lyfe Jennings Talib Kweli Greene,
Terrace Martin,
Kevin Gilliam,
Coi Mattison,
Chester Jennings,
Al Green
Terrace Martin, Battlecat
11 "More or Less" 4:40 Talib Kweli, Dion Talib Kweli Greene,
Tony Cottrell,
Dion Jenkins
12 "Stay Around" 4:15 Talib Kweli Talib Kweli Greene,
Peter Phillips,
Robert Bell,
Ronald Bell,
George Brown,
Cynthia Huggins,
Claydes Charles Smith,
Dennis Thomas
Pete Rock
13 "Hot Thing" 3:48 Talib Kweli, will.i.am Talib Kweli Greene,
William Adams,
Johnny Watson
14 "Space Fruit" (Interlude) 1:31 Sa-Ra Om'Mas Keith,
Shafiq Husayn
15 "The Perfect Beat" 3:49 Talib Kweli, KRS-One Talib Kweli Greene,
S. Thornton,
Leo Parker
Bob Marley
Swiff D
16 "Oh My Stars" 3:40 Talib Kweli, Musiq Soulchild Talib Kweli Greene,
Talib Johnson,
Khalil Abdul-Rahman,
Amani Fela Greene
DJ Khalil
17 "Listen!!!" 3:28 Talib Kweli Talib Kweli Greene,
Kwamé Holland,
Fred Williams
  • "Tell Her" by Fred Williams and the Jewels Band
18 "Go With Us" 3:59 Talib Kweli, Strong Arm Steady Talib Kweli Greene,
Eric Jones,
Jason Smith,
Marvin Jones,
Charles Mitchell
E. Jones
19 "Hostile Gospel Pt. 2 (Deliver Me)" 4:21 Talib Kweli, Sizzla Talib Kweli Greene
Miguel Collins
Khalil Abdul-Rahman
David Hinds
DJ Khalil
20 "The Nature" (Bonus Track) 5:01 Talib Kweli, Justin Timberlake Talib Kweli Greene,
Justin Timberlake
Eric Krasno, Adam Deitch
21 "Hush" (Bonus Track) 3:55 Talib Kweli, Jean Grae Talib Kweli Greene
Chad Burnette
Michael Clervoix
Chad Beatz
22 "Take It Back" (International Bonus Track) 5:14 Talib Kweli, Marsha Ambrosius of Floetry Talib Kweli Greene, Marsha Ambrosius Karriem Riggins
23 "Getting My Grown Man On" (International Bonus Track) 3:50 Talib Kweli, Little Brother Talib Kweli Greene, Little Brother Midi Mafia

Chart positions[edit]

Year Album Chart positions
Billboard 200 Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums
2007 Eardrum #2 #2


External links[edit]