Longtime friends and collaborators Talib Kweli, Pharaohe Monch and 9th Wonder have announced the formation of Indie 500, a collective that channels the legacy of New York’s Native Tongues crew. In case you need a refresher course, that’d be the late ’80s/early ’90s movement led by such underground hip-hop luminaries as A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul and Queen Latifah, as well as such periphery members as Common, the Pharcyde, and Kweli’s old Black Star bandmate Mos Def.
“We looked at each other and we were like, ‘We should do business together and music together’,” Monch explained in an Okayplayer interview. “It’s empowering, it’s beautiful, and it’s important for that to be known — to inspire younger generations to not only rap, but to start companies and corporations.”
“Anybody that has an independent mind state or spirit is Indie 500,” added Kweli. “It’s important to us, as artists, that we value the art.”
9th Wonder went on to name Erykah Badu, Jill Scott and Slum Village as other examples of the sound and spirit Indie 500 hopes to capture. Or as he put it, it’s all about “grass roots, deep-rooted hip-hop music.”
Check out the trio’s video interview below, along with a few of their musical collaborations from over the years: