Quality (album)

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Talib Kweli Quality.jpg
Studio album by Talib Kweli
Released November 19, 2002
Recorded 2001–2002
Genre Alternative hip hop
Length 65:13
Label Rawkus
Producer Kanye West, Megahertz, DJ Quik, DJ Scratch, J Dilla, Soulquarians, Supa Dave West, Ayatollah, Eric Krasno, Dahoud Darien
Talib Kweli chronology
Train of Thought
The Beautiful Struggle
Singles from Quality
  1. "Good to You" / "Put It in the Air"
    Released: July 2, 2002
  2. "Waitin' For The DJ" / "Guerilla Monsoon Rap"
    Released: September 17, 2002
  3. "Get By"
    Released: March 11, 2003
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 79/100[1]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[2]
HipHopDX 4/5 stars[3]
Pitchfork Media 9.1/10[4]
PopMatters 9/10 stars[5]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[6]
Spin 8/10[1]
Stylus Magazine B[7]
Uncut 3/5 stars[8]
Vibe 4.5/5 stars[9]
Yahoo! Music UK 8/10 stars[10]

Quality is the debut studio album by American rapper Talib Kweli. The album was released on November 19, 2002, by Rawkus Records. It received wide critical acclaim and had some commercial appeal from the song "Get By", produced by Kanye West. Kludge magazine included it on their list of best albums of 2002.[11]


In 1998 Talib Kweli and Mos Def as duo Black Star released critically acclaimed album Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star.[12][13] The duo planned to release their second album, but Mos Def was busy working on film The Italian Job.[14] Meanwhile, Kweli decided to work on other projects. As part of Reflection Eternal duo with Hi-Tek he released Train of Thought in 2000.[15] Then, following the success of his previous albums, Kweli decided to release his debut solo album.

The album was called Quality. In 2002 interview with Rolling Stone rapper explained the album's name:[16]

It was just the best way of trying to describe what I wanted to do. The word just fit. I'm trying to focus on quality over quantity.

— Talib Kweli

According to Billboard, the album's name is also a wordplay on rapper's similarly pronounced surname.[17]

Release and promotion[edit]

Quality was released on November 19, 2002[18] (November 25 in the UK),[5] by Rawkus Records. Despite Kweli still being an underground rapper,[13] album was commercially successful.[19] It peaked at number 21 on Billboard 200[20] and number 6 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.[21] Three singles were released from the album: "Good to You" with "Put It in the Air" as b-side, "Waitin' For The DJ" with "Guerilla Monsoon Rap" as b-side, and "Get By". First two didn't achieve success, so the label decided to not release the third one, considering it too underground. Then Talib Kweli and his manager made several copies of the single and sent them to radio DJs. With help from DJ Enuff, Power 106 crew, and some other DJs the single gained popularity,[22] and was later released by Rawkus. "Get By" received radio airplay in early 2003[19] and charted on Billboard Hot 100, where it peaked at number 77.[23] "Get By" became Kweli's biggest solo hit.[24] Music video for the song was later released[14] and official remix was recorded. The remix, featuring Kanye West, Mos Def, Jay Z, and Busta Rhymes, was aired briefly and was never officially released.[22]

After release of Quality, Talib Kweli went on tour, promoting the album, and brought Kanye West with him.[25][26] Back then, West was considered a talented producer, but nobody was interested in his rapping.[27] Kweli allowed West to perform on stage with him during his concerts, which became West's first official performances as a rapper. West later praised Kweli, saying that Kweli is one of the artists he owes his success to.[25]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Producer(s) Length
1. "Keynote Speaker" (featuring Dave Chappelle) Eric Krasno 2:14
2. "Rush" (featuring Xzibit) Megahertz 3:42
3. "Get By" Kanye West 3:47
4. "Shock Body" DJ Scratch 3:49
5. "Gun Music" (featuring Cocoa Brovaz) Megahertz 3:45
6. "Waitin' for the DJ" (featuring Bilal) Dahoud Darien 4:03
7. "Joy" (featuring Mos Def) Ayatollah 4:14
8. "Talk to You (Lil' Darlin')" The Soulquarians, Talib Kweli 5:00
9. "Guerrilla Monsoon Rap" (featuring Black Thought, Pharoahe Monch, & Kanye West) Kanye West 4:13
10. "Put It in the Air" (featuring DJ Quik) DJ Quik 4:56
11. "The Proud" Ayatollah 5:06
12. "Where Do We Go" (featuring Res) J Dilla 3:58
13. "Stand to the Side" (featuring Novel & Vinia Mojica) J Dilla 6:32
14. "Good to You" Kanye West 4:21
15. "Won't You Stay" (featuring Kendra Ross) Supa Dave West 5:25


Chart positions[edit]


Chart (2002) Peak
US Billboard 200[20] 21
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[21] 6


Song Chart (2002) Peak
"Good to You" US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[28] 95
"Waitin' For The DJ" US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[29] 77
Song Chart (2003) Peak
"Get By" US Billboard Hot 100[23] 77
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[29] 29
US Hot Rap Songs (Billboard)[30] 16


  1. ^ a b "Critic Reviews for Quality". Metacritic. Retrieved 2015-10-05. 
  2. ^ Steve Huey (2002-11-19). "Quality - Talib Kweli | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-10-05. 
  3. ^ "Talib Kweli - Quality". HipHopDX. 2002-11-22. Retrieved 2015-10-05. 
  4. ^ "Talib Kweli: Quality | Album Reviews". Pitchfork. 2002-12-10. Retrieved 2015-10-05. 
  5. ^ a b  . "Talib Kweli: Quality". PopMatters. Retrieved 2015-10-05. 
  6. ^ Talib Kweli (2002-11-19). "Talib Kweli: Quality : Music Reviews : Rolling Stone". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on October 14, 2007. Retrieved 2015-10-05. 
  7. ^ "Talib Kweli - Quality - Review". Stylus Magazine. Retrieved 2015-10-05. 
  8. ^ "Talib Kweli - Quality". Uncut: 76. February 2003. Retrieved 2013-04-19. 
  9. ^ Vibe - Google Livres. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2015-10-05. 
  10. ^ "LAUNCH, Music on Yahoo! - Talib Kweli - 'Quality'". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on August 25, 2004. Retrieved 2015-10-05. 
  11. ^ "The Best of 2002". Kludge. Archived from the original on July 22, 2004. Retrieved November 25, 2015. 
  12. ^ O'Connor, Christopher. "Black Star, Common, Rah Digga Rap In Protest Of NY Police Shooting". MTV. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  13. ^ a b Mistry, Anupa. "On record: Mos Def and Talib Kweli are Black Star". CBC Radio 3. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  14. ^ a b Vineyard, Jennifer. "Talib Kweli Promises New Black Star LP, Rejoices At Demise Of Bling Bling". MTV. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  15. ^ "Reflection Eternal - Train Of Thought". HipHopDX. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  16. ^ Dansby, Andrew (15 November 2002). "Talib Kweli Ups the "Quality"". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  17. ^ "Black Star Alum Kweli Offers 'Quality'". Billboard. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  18. ^ "Quality by Talib Kweli". MTV. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  19. ^ a b Neal, Mark Anthony. "Talib Kweli's Beautiful Struggle". PopMatters. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  20. ^ a b "Talib Kweli – Chart history" Billboard 200 for Talib Kweli. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
  21. ^ a b "Talib Kweli – Chart history" Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums for Talib Kweli. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
  22. ^ a b Ahmed, Insanul. "Talib Kweli Breaks Down His 25 Most Essential Songs". Complex. Retrieved 4 May 2016. 
  23. ^ a b "Talib Kweli – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Talib Kweli. Retrieved May 4, 2016.
  24. ^ Cantor, Paul. "25 Hip-Hop Artists People Think Are One-Hit Wonders (But Totally Aren't)". Complex. Retrieved 4 May 2016. 
  25. ^ a b Markman, Rob. "Kanye West Owes Rap Success To 'Technique,' Not Talib Kweli". MTV. Retrieved 4 May 2016. 
  26. ^ Cantor, Paul. "Kanye West's 'The College Dropout' at 10: Classic Track-by-Track Review". Billboard. Retrieved 4 May 2016. 
  27. ^ Cooper, Roman. "Talib Kweli Recalls That "No One Wanted To Hear Kanye [West] Rap"". HipHopDX. Retrieved 4 May 2016. 
  28. ^ "Talib Kweli awards". AllMusic. Retrieved May 4, 2016. 
  29. ^ a b "Talib Kweli – Chart history" Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for Talib Kweli. Retrieved May 4, 2016.
  30. ^ "Talib Kweli – Chart history" Billboard Hot Rap Songs for Talib Kweli. Retrieved May 4, 2016.

External links[edit]