Talib Kweli Surprises Columbia University with Bacchanal Performance [Exclusive Coverage]


New York, NY -- Last Saturday, April 18th,

Talib Kweli

performed at Columbia University's annual Bacchanal music festival, co-headlining with rock group Vampire Weekend. The campus population went wild when the Brooklyn-born emcee took the stage to perform some of his hits, as well as a few tracks off his latest album,


. From a stage adorned with banners advertising his vanity label,

Blacksmith Records

, Kweli extolled the values of traditional hip-hop through speech and song.

One crowd-pleasing favorite was the

Kanye West

-produced “Get By,” off Kweli’s first solo disc,


. Chants of “

just to get by

” floated through the Manhattan air as students pumped their fists to the emcee's inspirational tunes.

The rapper, whose brother teaches at the university, then “

banged on your eardrum

” with “Listen!!!,” a single off his last LP. Peppering his set with rapid-fire a cappella verses, Kweli had everyone grooving to his sound. After a short encore it was time for the emcee to take off, but his rhythms and rhymes doubtless echoed in listeners heads for the rest of the night and beyond.

Photos by

Mason Fitch