Revolutions per Minute (Reflection Eternal album)

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Revolutions per Minute
Studio album by Reflection Eternal
Released May 18, 2010
Recorded 2008–2010
Electric Lady Studios
(Greenwich Village, New York)
Genre Hip hop
Length 60:35
Label Blacksmith, Rawkus, Warner Bros.
Producer Hi-Tek, Talib Kweli (exec.), Sha Money XL (exec.), Corey Smyth (exec.)
Reflection Eternal chronology
Train of Thought
(2000)Train of Thought2000
Revolutions per Minute
Talib Kweli chronology
(2007) Eardrum2007
Revolutions per Minute
(2010) Revolutions per Minute2010
Gutter Rainbows
(2011) Gutter Rainbows2011
Hi-Tek chronology
Hi-Teknology 3
(2007) Hi-Teknology 32007
Revolutions per Minute
(2010) Revolutions per Minute2010
Singles from Revolutions
  1. "Back Again"
    Released: June 9, 2009[1]
  2. "Just Begun[2]"
    Released: February 2, 2010
  3. "In This World[3]"
    Released: March 23, 2010
  4. "Strangers (Paranoid)[4]"
    Released: April 13, 2010
  5. "Midnight Hour"
    Released: April 27, 2010
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[5]
Alternative Press 4/5 stars[6]
The A.V. Club (B)[7]
Boston Phoenix 3/4 stars[8]
Exclaim! (favorable)[9]
Pitchfork Media (7.5/10)[10]
PopMatters (8/10)[11]
RapReviews (9/10)[12]
Slant Magazine 4/5 stars[13]
Spin 3.5/5 stars[14]

Revolutions per Minute is the second studio album by American hip hop duo Reflection Eternal, released May 18, 2010, on Blacksmith Records and Rawkus Records. Composed of rapper Talib Kweli and DJ/hip hop producer Hi-Tek, it is the duo's follow-up to their collaborative debut Train of Thought (2000).

The album debuted at number 18 on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 21,000 copies in its first week. Upon its release, Revolutions per Minute received generally positive reviews from most music critics.


Like the first album, Revolutions per Minute was recorded at Electric Lady Studios. It is their second album after a 10-year hiatus. Hi-Tek produced the entire album. The album features five singles: "Back Again", "Just Begun" with Mos Def, Jay Electronica and J. Cole, "In This World", "Strangers (Paranoid)" with Bun B, and "Midnight Hour" with Estelle. The album was released May 18, 2010 on Blacksmith Records and Rawkus Records.[15]


Commercial performance[edit]

The album debuted at number 18 on the US Billboard 200 chart with first-week sales of 21,000 copies.[16] It also entered at number five on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop Albums,[17] at number three on its Rap Albums,[18] and at number 11 on its Digital Albums chart.[19]

Critical response[edit]

Upon its release, the album received positive reviews from most music critics, based on an aggregate score of 80/100 from Metacritic.[20] Allmusic writer Gregory Heaney commended Kweli's and Hi-Tek's musical chemistry and wrote "Hi-Tek’s soul-infused beats create the perfect laid-back atmosphere for Kweli’s casual verbal acrobatics, crafting beats that bring the listener into the group's chilled-out space with their minimal aesthetic".[5] Steve Juon of RapReviews gave it a 9/10 rating and praised Kweli's rapping, stating "Kweli is using his keen powers of observation to see the world for what it really is, and then translate that knowledge into a musical form you can simultaneously enjoy and learn from".[12] Exclaim!'s Anupa Mistry wrote that Revolutions per Minute is "doused in their working chemistry".[9] Boston Phoenix writer Chris Faraone gave it 3 out of 4 stars and stated "The chemistry between these two remains bubbling".[8] HipHopDX writer Kathy Iandoli gave it 4 out of 5 stars and wrote that it "displays the evolution of both the emcee and the deejay".[21] Giving it an 8/10 rating, PopMatters writer Dave Heaton praised Kweli's lyrics concerning the importance of money in life, building a career in hip hop, the differences between celebrity and work, and the former's affect on a person, stating:

Taken as a whole, Revolutions Per Minute offers a specific and complicated vision of what it means to be an artist. It presents the notion that music-making is about dedication and practice, about practical business decisions as much as art, while also being a manner of “exorcising” ghosts and “testifying” to what’s going on in the world (as he puts it on “Back Again”). To sign a record deal is to enter a deal with the devil, and every musician needs to know it, Kweli notes repeatedly.[11]

— Dave Heaton

Giving it 4 out of 5 stars, Slant Magazine writer M.T. Richards described the album as "brainy, energizing stuff" and praised Kweli's rapping, stating "Sinking his no-frills flow into calm, bassy tracks, Kweli lands punchline after punchline with the kind of finesse Jay and Common could only dream of".[13] The A.V. Club's Nathan Rabin gave the album a B rating and wrote "Hi-Tek lacks a trademark style, but his chemistry with Kweli remains potent, even when Minute doesn’t hit the heights of the duo’s debut".[7] Mosi Reeves of Spin gave the album 3½ out of 5 stars and viewed Hi-Tek's "jazz-inflected riffs and soulful vibes" as complimentary to Kweli's "mercurial" style, stating "congenial beats balance intricately daring rhymes".[14] Alternative Press writer Casey Boland gave it 4 out of 5 stars and viewed it as an improvement for Hi-Tek's producing and Kweli's rapping, stating "he sounds at home with Hi-Tek. His cadence has never locked so tightly with the tune, his lyrical flow never so sinuous".[6] Henry Adaso of noted a "musical maturation" by the duo and wrote that the album "finds Kweli masterfully marrying the physical with the philosophical atop Hi-Tek's rich palette of headphone music".[22] Pitchfork Media's Nate Patrin gave Revolutions per Minute a 7.5/10 rating and commended its "conscious yet unpretentious lyricism delivered with acrobatic dexterity over on-point, no-gimmick beats".[10]

Track listing[edit]

  • All songs produced by Hi-Tek
No. Title Length
1. "RPM's" 1:06
2. "City Playgrounds" 4:43
3. "Back Again" (featuring Res) 3:26
4. "Strangers (Paranoid)" (featuring Bun B) 2:51
5. "In This World" 3:31
6. "Got Work (Fame)" 4:16
7. "Midnight Hour" (featuring Estelle) 4:40
8. "Lifting Off" 5:22
9. "In the Red" 3:00
10. "Black Gold (Intro)" 0:18
11. "Ballad of the Black Gold" 5:34
12. "Just Begun" (featuring Jay Electronica, J. Cole & Mos Def) 3:37
13. "Long Hot Summer" 2:22
14. "Get Loose" (featuring Chester French) 5:34
15. "So Good" 3:33
16. "Ends" (featuring Bilal) 3:22
17. "My Life (Outro)" 3:28


Credits for Revolutions per Minute adapted from Allmusic.

Chart history[edit]

Chart (2010) Peak
US Billboard 200[16] 18
US Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Albums[17] 5
US Billboard Rap Albums[18] 3
US Billboard Digital Albums[19] 11


  1. ^ "Back Again [Explicit]: Reflection Eternal: MP3 Downloads". Retrieved 2011-02-20. 
  2. ^ "Just Begun by Reflection Eternal : Reviews and Ratings". Rate Your Music. 2010-04-18. Retrieved 2011-02-20. 
  3. ^ "In This World [Explicit]: Reflection Eternal: Talib Kweli & HiTek: MP3 Downloads". Retrieved 2011-02-20. 
  4. ^ "Strangers [Paranoid] [Feat. Bun B] [Explicit]: Reflection Eternal: Talib Kweli & HiTek: MP3 Downloads". Retrieved 2011-02-20. 
  5. ^ a b Heaney, Gregory. Review: Revolutions per Minute. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2010-05-18.
  6. ^ a b Boland, Casey. Review: Revolutions per Minute. Alternative Press. Retrieved on 2010-06-03.
  7. ^ a b Rabin, Nathan. Review: Revolutions per Minute. The A.V. Club. Retrieved on 2010-05-25.
  8. ^ a b Faraone, Chris. Review: Revolutions per Minute. Boston Phoenix. Retrieved on 2010-05-18.
  9. ^ a b Mistry, Anupa. Review: Revolutions per Minute. Exclaim!. Retrieved on 2010-05-18.
  10. ^ a b Patrin, Nate. Review: Revolutions per Minute. Pitchfork Media. Retrieved on 2010-05-25.
  11. ^ a b Heaton, Dave. Review: Revolutions per Minute. PopMatters. Retrieved on 2010-05-26.
  12. ^ a b Juon, Steve. Review: Revolutions per Minute. RapReviews. Retrieved on 2010-06-03.
  13. ^ a b Richards, M.T. Review: Revolutions per Minute. Slant Magazine. Retrieved on 2010-06-03.
  14. ^ a b Reeves, Mosi. "Review: Revolutions per Minute". Spin. Retrieved 5 October 2010. 
  15. ^ US. "Reflection Eternal | Gratis muziek, tourneedata, foto's, video's". Retrieved 2011-02-20. 
  16. ^ a b Kaufman, Gil. Another 'Glee' Soundtrack Tops Billboard Album Charts. MTV. Retrieved on 2010-05-31.
  17. ^ a b R&B/Hip-Hop Albums – Week of June 05, 2010. Billboard. Retrieved on 2010-05-31.
  18. ^ a b Rap Albums – Week of June 05, 2010. Billboard. Retrieved on 2010-05-31.
  19. ^ a b Digital Albums – Week of June 05, 2010. Billboard. Retrieved on 2010-05-31.
  20. ^ Revolutions per Minute (2010): Reviews. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2010-06-03.
  21. ^ Iandoli, Kathy. Review: Revolutions per Minute. HipHopDX. Retrieved on 2010-05-18.
  22. ^ Adaso, Henry. "Review: Revolutions per Minute". Retrieved 18 May 2010.