The Beautiful Struggle Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 23 Ratings

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  • Summary: The literary rapper's second LP features production by the usual suspects (Kanye West, The Neptunes, Just Blaze). Mary J Blige guests.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 19
  2. Negative: 2 out of 19
  1. 90
    It is Kweli's diligently intelligent worldview, dextrous wordplay and often breathtaking flow that enrapture. [Jan 2005, p.96]
  2. 83
    While [Quality] cautiously courted the mainstream, he's made mass appeal Job No. 1 of late. [Oct 2004, p.112]
  3. On The Beautiful Struggle, Kweli is savvy enough to play the rap industry's rigged game without sacrificing his soul or compromising his integrity.
  4. "I Try," featuring Blige and produced by Kanye West, comes off as trying too hard to re-create Kweli's "Quality" hit, "Get By." The album works best when it goes with the flow.
  5. It misses a little more than it hits.
  6. Kweli's default musical setting is that dreary soul-jazz hybrid that seems to come as standard with every socially conscious rapper, presumably in the belief that if the music bores the listener rigid, they will be forced to concentrate on the lyrics.
  7. Kweli's generic sounds belie the so-called revolutionary front of his lyrics.

See all 19 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 12
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 12
  3. Negative: 3 out of 12
  1. FunkyFresh
    Sep 30, 2004
    sounds similar to "Quality" thanks to the talent-lacking beat maker kanye west, however this is a masterpiece nonetheless. my only suggestion for talib's next album: CUT KANYE LOSE!! Expand
  2. MaxG
    Oct 7, 2004
    It's a sick CD, actually worth an 8.5 or a 9 but for those who have heard the pre-released mixtape it's obvious that its a 10. The actual Beautiful Struggle project included several other cuts that were definitely album-worthy but for some reason didn't make the bill. Including those songs the beautiful struggle is one of the best albums of the decade in my opinion. Look for "Lonely People," "Supreme" & " "We Pullin Out Tonite" Expand
  3. EmahunnC
    Dec 12, 2004
    How can you say that this album is not great! I feel that people have lost the essence of hip hop. The artist that come out now are horrible. They have these beats save their careers. You should give all of the hip hop awards to the producers if everyone wants to talk about beats. Kweli is the best emcee out right now because he sees the reality of the world. It is not about "ice" or "whips", it is about the issues that the world is facing. Furthermore, he may have made songs that may sound like they belong in the club, however, Kweli did not compromise his lyrics one bit on this album. This is a 10 plus 20. Expand
  4. Faigenistic
    Sep 28, 2004
    Critics say he's trying to go mainstream and sell albums to a wider audience, but that's the point of the industry. The lyrical content and delivery remain at the top of the game and little has changed from Quality. If anything, it offers a look into more of what Kweli has to offer as an MC. Expand
  5. stoparaoan
    Oct 21, 2004
    It ain't Quality but still still vintage Kweli. Beautiful Struggle has a lot of dope hits but it's hard to ignore the misses.
  6. VinceH
    Oct 22, 2004
    I agree with the general consensus. Awesome lyrics as usual (with as wide a range of subjects as any album this year) and Kweli's flow is still one of the best in the biz. Now while this album is certainly better than Mos Def's scattershot new album, the production is just plain lame. You cannot deny that. Except for 3 or 4 songs, the beats here are way below the standard of even the worst on Quality and Hi-Tek shows that he has perhaps been hanging around Snoop Dogg too much because he has a beat here that sounds like Fred Wreck on his worst day. Overall some good songs and very good lyrics/rapping, but wack beats. Expand
  7. AndyR
    Oct 12, 2004
    boring. Talib Kweli, much like Mos Def, has lost his edge. I question how politically effective you can be in hiphop when backed by such lame lame beats. Expand

See all 12 User Reviews