Talib Kweli often serves as a lightning rod for critics disenchanted by the unfulfilled promise of the late-Nineties indie hip-hop movement. Much of The Beautiful Struggle probably won't satisfy them, thanks to fluffy cuts such as "Around My Way," where guest John Legend sings over a smooth jazz interpolation of the Police's "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic." Other songs, however, prove that Kweli can still bring it, as he addresses everything from squashing beef in the black community ("Work It Out") to the challenges of raising a young daughter ("Black Girl Pain"). Musically uneven and lyrically on point, The Beautiful Struggle isn't bad. Still, one suspects that he can do better than this.
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