Black Star consists of Yasiin Bey—formerly known as Mos Def and Talib Kweli, who arose from the underground movement of the late 1990s. They released one self-titled album, Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star. Though the record achieved little commercial success, they (and other members of The Native Tongues such as De La Soul & A Tribe Called Quest) helped shape underground alternative rap and helped bring it further into the mainstream eye. Both artists have gone on to greater commercial and critical success in separate solo careers.
Black Star’s emergence into the hip-hop scene came at a crucial point in music history. Following the deaths of both The Notorious B.I.G (1997) and 2Pac (1996), two of hip-hops most prevalent artists even to this day – hip-hop was consumed in a world of chaos. Black Star attempted to bring reconciliation in the wake of these violent deaths by providing conscious rapping to fans of hip-hop, criticizing the problems of the world in the 90s, specifically their home of Brooklyn, New York City.
In a talk with Genius SameOldShawn, Talib Kweli explains the influence Yasiin Bey had on him as a young hip-hop artist.