Ear Drum - Talib Kweli

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. At 20 tracks and nearly 80 minutes, Eardrum is both too much and too little, never quite understanding exactly what it needs to be.
  2. There are enough different feels and flows to dazzle listeners with Kweli's dexterity, but some judicious editing could have produced something perhaps even more impressive.
  3. 70
    Kweli’s rigid delivery and obsession with self-empowerment remain liabilities.
  4. Ear Drum is his sprawling, messy 2007 manifesto, loaded with rhymes that take weeks to unpack, to say nothing of the bizarre diversity of producers and guests.
  5. A procession of sharp cuts. [24 Aug 2007, p.133]
  6. 86
    The production work throughout provides a head-bobbing, arm-waving backdrop to Kweli’s lyrical genius, exactly as it should.
  7. Kweli's collaborative work has set the bar so high that his solo efforts routinely fail to meet these exalted expectations.
  8. 80
    Ear Drum confirms Kweli's position as an icon. [Oct 2007, p.106]
  9. Kweli's curse- 'n' cliché-free rhyme-ripping proves he needs no help on the microphone. He outshines his celebrated guests, including labelmate Grae, KRS-One, Norah Jones (!), Sonia Sanchez, UGK's Pimp C and Bun B, Musiq Soulchild and Raheem DeVaughn.
  10. He's back on his own terms, those of the earnest hyper-intelligent bookworm who won the plaudits of Jay-Z and 50 Cent, and sounding a lot more comfortable, with 'Hostile Gospel' and 'Say Something' re-staking a claim for the hip hop high ground over beats that are soulful and sonically coherent.
  11. He's made a nice to return to form, crafting a mature album that nods to his past without being a retread.
  12. I Think, one of Talib Kweli's major goals with his music is to speak to (and from the vantage point of) groups that have been marginalized from "the norm." Ear Drum comes mighty close to reaching that goal, with only a few stumbles along the way.
  13. Kweli shows again that he deserves the respect he receives, but Eardrum is simply not cohesive enough.
  14. Articulate and thoughtful as Kweli's rhymrs are, few of the star producers he's invited along rise to the occasion. [Sep 2007, p.95]
  15. Talib Kweli has made the career-defining work that his fans have been expecting for nearly a decade.
  16. Though it's admirably consistent and pretty darn OK, it lacks a knockout track to counterbalance the complaints about the King James Bible and swine toothpaste.
  17. 50
    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. [Sep 2007, p.133]
  18. Sexual and spiritual, conscious and just plain fun, Eardrum is a master class in lyricism from a man supremely comfortable in his own skin.
  19. Ear Drum doesn’t reach the highs of that far more ambitious and sprawling album ["Train of Thought"], but it’s a welcome return to form.
  20. 60
    Kweli, whose wordy rhymes can often read better than they flow, sounds nimble and at ease most of the time. [Oct 2007, p.96]
  21. 60
    Eardrum lacks cohesiveness. [August 2007, p.75]
  22. Ear Drum marks the self-proclaimed BK MC's third full-length feature, and astoundingly, it's a captivating, cocksure rejoinder to everyone who abandoned him.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 34 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 10
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 10
  3. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. KyleZ.
    Sep 11, 2007
    Album of the year. Hands down. Production from long time partner Hi-Tek on More or Less is phenomenal. The quintessential Hip-Hop album.
  2. EdwardH
    Sep 11, 2007
    He is a freekin' genius I have neva seen anyone outshine UGK not anyone, neva eva. But he doez it, his like tha lyrical perfection of Nas, Kanye West, and Jay z all in one. One of NY'z Finest, correction one of tha rap games finest, pure genius and raw rappin' talent dat is true and really really inspirational. Keep doin' yo thang man. Its rappers Iike you dat I live 2 hear in rap muzik. Full Review »
  3. prolifik
    Sep 9, 2007
    Solid album from start to finish, way better and consistent than Beautiful Struggle