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Kweli: 'Baseball a metaphor for life'
07/02/2008 11:38 AM ET
Talib Kweli represented his favorite baseball team while at the recent Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Tennessee, but he couldn't escape the wrath of Red Sox Nation even while on a farm outside of Nashville.

The Brooklyn-bred rapper, touring to promote his tour de force new album, Ear Drum, sported his trademark Yankees cap and still caught mouthfuls from passersby on the Red Sox bandwagon.

"(There's) a lot of haters," Kweli said in an interview backstage at Bonnaroo with's Andrew Becker. "I just point at my hat when I drive around. (When) I get that in Boston, I understand. I didn't expect to get that in Tennessee.

"And the Red Sox, the last couple years, have been an incredible sports organization and their story is an incredible story, one that everybody should pay attention to. But nothing, nothing in the history of sports compares to the New York Yankees."

Kweli talks baseball about as seriously as hip-hop, which he has made a mark on with compelling lyrics aimed to educate listeners. That's why Jay-Z and 50 Cent consider him one of their favorite rappers.

"The message is gravy on top of the meat and potatoes," Kweli says of his songs. "The message ropes in the people who just want to hear something that they agree with, but the people who are really going to be impressed, they're going to be impressed by the actual music."

Kweli says he played a lot of baseball before dedicating his life to hip-hop and finds power in its nuances.

"I collected every baseball card, I had season tickets to Yankee Stadium, but baseball is a great metaphor for life," Kweli says. "It's definitely my favorite game."

Kweli says has mixed feelings about the fact that his beloved Bronx Bombers are moving to a new stadium across the street in 2009.

"I think if I was younger and a kid I would be sentimental about it, but as you get older, you realize that things change and you see how things change, and even the House that Ruth Built that we go to to see the games, that's not the Yankee Stadium that some people think is the real Yankee Stadium," Kweli said.

He added that everything in baseball and in New York will be OK, "as long as the essence of the game stays the same.

"As long as those things like scandals and politics and big money don't take away from the essence of a little kid on a Little League team somewhere who just wants to learn the game."

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.