Quality (album)

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Talib Kweli Quality.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 19, 2002
GenreAlternative hip hop
ProducerKanye 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

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.[1]


In 1998 Talib Kweli and Mos Def as duo Black Star released critically acclaimed album Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star.[2][3] The duo planned to release their second album, but Mos Def was busy working on film The Italian Job.[4] Meanwhile, Kweli decided to work on other projects. As part of Reflection Eternal duo with Hi-Tek he released Train of Thought in 2000.[5] 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:[6]

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.[7]

Release and promotion[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[9]
Blender4/5 stars[10]
The Guardian3/5 stars[11]
Houston Chronicle4/5 stars[12]
Los Angeles Times3/4 stars[13]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[15]
USA Today4/4 stars[17]

Quality was released on November 19, 2002[19] (November 25 in the UK),[20] by Rawkus Records. Despite Kweli still being an underground rapper,[3] album was commercially successful.[21] It peaked at number 21 on Billboard 200[22] and number 6 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.[23] 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,[24] and was later released by Rawkus. "Get By" received radio airplay in early 2003[21] and charted on Billboard Hot 100, where it peaked at number 77.[25] "Get By" became Kweli's biggest solo hit.[26] Music video for the song was later released[4] 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.[24]

After release of Quality, Talib Kweli went on tour, promoting the album, and brought Kanye West with him.[27][28] Back then, West was considered a talented producer, but nobody was interested in his rapping.[29] 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.[27]

Track listing[edit]

1."Keynote Speaker" (featuring Dave Chappelle)Eric Krasno2:14
2."Rush" (featuring Xzibit)Megahertz3:42
3."Get By"Kanye West3:47
4."Shock Body"DJ Scratch3:49
5."Gun Music" (featuring Cocoa Brovaz)Megahertz3:45
6."Waitin' for the DJ" (featuring Bilal)Dahoud Darien4:03
7."Joy" (featuring Mos Def)Ayatollah4:14
8."Talk to You (Lil' Darlin')"The Soulquarians, Talib Kweli5:00
9."Guerrilla Monsoon Rap" (featuring Black Thought, Pharoahe Monch & Kanye West)Kanye West4:13
10."Put It in the Air" (featuring DJ Quik)DJ Quik4:56
11."The Proud"Ayatollah5:06
12."Where Do We Go" (featuring Res)J Dilla3:58
13."Stand to the Side" (featuring Novel & Vinia Mojica)J Dilla6:32
14."Good to You"Kanye West4:21
15."Won't You Stay" (featuring Kendra Ross)Supa Dave West5:25


Chart positions[edit]


Chart (2002) Peak
US Billboard 200[22] 21
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[23] 6


Song Chart (2002) Peak
"Good to You" US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[30] 95
"Waitin' For The DJ" US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[31] 77
Song Chart (2003) Peak
"Get By" US Billboard Hot 100[25] 77
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[31] 29
US Hot Rap Songs (Billboard)[32] 16


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[33] Gold 500,000double-dagger

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ "The Best of 2002". Kludge. Archived from the original on July 22, 2004. Retrieved November 25, 2015.
  2. ^ O'Connor, Christopher. "Black Star, Common, Rah Digga Rap In Protest Of NY Police Shooting". MTV. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  3. ^ a b Mistry, Anupa. "On record: Mos Def and Talib Kweli are Black Star". CBC Radio 3. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  4. ^ a b Vineyard, Jennifer. "Talib Kweli Promises New Black Star LP, Rejoices At Demise Of Bling Bling". MTV. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  5. ^ "Reflection Eternal - Train Of Thought". HipHopDX. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  6. ^ Dansby, Andrew (15 November 2002). "Talib Kweli Ups the "Quality"". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  7. ^ "Black Star Alum Kweli Offers 'Quality'". Billboard. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  8. ^ "Quality by Talib Kweli". Metacritic. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
  9. ^ Huey, Steve. "Quality – Talib Kweli". AllMusic. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
  10. ^ Lewis, Miles Marshall (December 2002). "Talib Kweli: Quality". Blender (12): 145. Archived from the original on August 20, 2004. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  11. ^ Lynskey, Dorian (December 6, 2002). "Talib Kweli: Quality". The Guardian. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  12. ^ Chonin, Neva (December 29, 2002). "Kweli's Gift of Gab". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  13. ^ Sterling, Scott T. (December 1, 2002). "Talib Kweli 'Quality' (Rawkus)". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  14. ^ Chennault, Sam (December 10, 2002). "Talib Kweli: Quality". Pitchfork. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
  15. ^ Caramanica, Jon (January 3, 2003). "Talib Kweli: Quality". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on October 14, 2007. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
  16. ^ "The Breakdown". Spin. 19 (2): 99. February 2003. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  17. ^ Jones, Steve (December 1, 2002). "Talib Kweli, 'Quality' (MCA)". USA Today.
  18. ^ Berry, Elizabeth Mendez (December 2002). "Talib Kweli: Quality". Vibe: 204. Retrieved October 5, 2015.
  19. ^ "Quality by Talib Kweli". MTV. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  20. ^  . "Talib Kweli: Quality". PopMatters. Retrieved 2015-10-05.
  21. ^ a b Neal, Mark Anthony. "Talib Kweli's Beautiful Struggle". PopMatters. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  22. ^ a b "Talib Kweli Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
  23. ^ a b "Talib Kweli Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
  24. ^ a b Ahmed, Insanul. "Talib Kweli Breaks Down His 25 Most Essential Songs". Complex. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  25. ^ a b "Talib Kweli Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved May 4, 2016.
  26. ^ Cantor, Paul. "25 Hip-Hop Artists People Think Are One-Hit Wonders (But Totally Aren't)". Complex. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  27. ^ a b Markman, Rob. "Kanye West Owes Rap Success To 'Technique,' Not Talib Kweli". MTV. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  28. ^ Cantor, Paul. "Kanye West's 'The College Dropout' at 10: Classic Track-by-Track Review". Billboard. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  29. ^ Cooper, Roman. "Talib Kweli Recalls That "No One Wanted To Hear Kanye [West] Rap"". HipHopDX. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  30. ^ "Talib Kweli awards". AllMusic. Retrieved May 4, 2016.
  31. ^ a b "Talib Kweli Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved May 4, 2016.
  32. ^ "Talib Kweli Chart History (Hot Rap Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved May 4, 2016.
  33. ^ "American album certifications – Talib Kweli – Quality". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 26 June 2018. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 

External links[edit]