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10 Interesting Facts About Black Star, the Hip Hop Duo


If you are into hip-hop, you will know of the duo Black Star comprised of Talib Kweli, formerly Mos Def, and Yasiin Bey. Both have been in the hip-hop industry since the 1990s. They have also worked independently and brought their fans lots of amazing music. 

What do you know about the duo? Here are 10 interesting facts about Black Star.

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1. They Pioneered Underground Hip-Hop

Black Star was formed in 1997 in Brooklyn, New York. It was borne out of the underground hip-hop movement. Their first album, Mos Def & Talib Kweli, recorded by an independent label Rawkus Records, was highly praised but fell short commercially. 

Their music was critical in popularizing alternative rap and bringing it into the limelight. 

2. They Sing About Political and Social Issues

Black Stars’ music touches on the experiences of African Americans. They are keen on sending out a positive message to empower their listeners. For example, the song ‘Brown Skinencourages black women to embrace their natural beauty and not listen to stereotypes about them. 

As for their political message, although Black Star address controversial issues, they seek to spread peace.

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3. Marcus Garvey Inspired the Name Black Star

Marcus Garvey, a Jamaican political activist, founded the Black Star Line. It was a company that built ships with the aim of connecting all black people to Africa. 

As hip-hop artists who are interested in Pan-Africanism, they decided to pay homage to his dreams and hence adopted the name Black Star.

4. The Duo Has Two Albums

Black Star has kept its fans waiting for a second album. Their first Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star was released in 1998. It would take them 24 years to release their second album, No Fear No Time.

During this hiatus, Talib and Yasiin worked on solo projects. They also performed in concerts like the now-defunct hip-hop music festival Rock The Bells, Oakland, California and a tour in Australia & New Zealand. 

After years of speculation about another release, they announced in 2018 that they would make another album. And in 2022, they delivered their second album.

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5. Both Have Been Married and Divorced

Talib Kweli and his wife, DJ Eque, divorced in 2021. They had a rocky marriage but stayed together legally. The two had a frosty relationship and separated in 2015. 

As for Yassin, he was married to two women. The first was Maria Yepes, and his second wife Alana. According to Alana, Yasiin promised to divorce his wife after marriage but never followed through with his promises. She said that their relationship was toxic, and she eventually filed for divorce. 

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6. Black Star Has Never Won Any Awards

Despite having a massive following and releasing music that was much loved by the mainstream, the duo has never received any major awards. 

7. Major Record Label Did Not Release Their Second Album

When Black Star announced the release of No Fear No Time, their fans were excited about the prospect of listening to them again. However, they chose to release it via the podcast network Luminary, a move that angered fans. 

In an interview with Radio Man, Black Stars explained that it was about valuing their music and rewarding their fans for their support throughout the years. 

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8. Yasiin Change of Name

When the band started, Yasiin was known as Mos Def. However, in 2012, he dropped that name in favor of Yasiin to reflect his Muslim identity. In an interview with The Guardian, he said the change was down to him wanting to have the same image on stage and outside of it. 

9. The Duo Have Solo Careers in Music and Other Areas

Between the musical gap, Talib Kweli and Yasiin worked on their careers. Talib Kweli has produced multiple album collaborations like Train of Thought, Liberation, and  Revolutions Per Minute. 

Aside from that, he’s famous for his political activism. He’s joined multiple protests to give voice to different campaigns and courses. He was part of Occupy Wall Street in 2011. He’s also demonstrated his business acumen. Talib founded his own independent label Javotti Media in 2011. 

As for Yasiiin, he’s also worked on collaborative albums and built a solid acting career. He’s acted in several movies including: 

He’s been nominated for a couple of awards, like the: 

  • BET Awards
  • Black Movie Awards
  • Black Reel Awards. 

10. Yasiin Bey and Talib Kweli’s Net Worth

The Black Star duo have made good money from their career. Yasiin Bey’s net worth is approximately $1.5 million, while Talib Kweli has a net worth of $8 million.

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