A Brooklyn-based duo composed of Mos Def and Talib Kweli, Black Star enlightened listeners with their self-titled 1998 debut. Armed with positive and conscious lyricism set to jazzy, earthy grooves, they provided a welcome change from the thugged-out styles of the industry. Black Star's mellow flows speak out against ignorance, violence, and materialism, while stressing the importance of respect, freedom, and knowledge of self. Far from being preachy, Mos and Talib's innovative deliveries, varied cadences, and smooth harmonizing always keep their message funky. They are among a refreshing new breed of emcees -- along with the Roots and Common -- who seek to educate as well as entertain.