Now that Mos Def is a Hollywood playboy and indie hip-hoppers embrace the rugged rhymes of Lil Wayne, socially conscious, sensitive rappers have their work cut out for them. But Mos Def’s ex-partner-in-crime Talib Kweli seems up for the challenge on his forthcoming long-player Ear Drum.

Much like 2004’s The Beautiful Struggle, Ear Drum is an album made for the post-30 vegan crowd. Kweli collaborated with Grammy-winning songstress Norah Jones on the album, which (according to his press release) also boasts a “sexy new single””entitled “Hot Thing.” He’s also brought along Kanye West, Madlib, and longtime-collaborator Hi-Tek, so urban gentlemen and B-boys alike may still find fire in Kweli’s conscious doctrine.

Evidently, the Brooklyn-bred MC is on a mission to keep things simple and thematic. According to him, the album’s title stems from “the image of the ear and of the drum, which are powerful enough by themselves, but put them together and it’s an instrument in your body that helps you hear. I wanted to focus on finding a sound that makes you move, and that’s where the word ‘eardrum’ popped in my head.”

Kweli’s anatomical offering is his first release on self-owned Blacksmith Music (in conjunction with Warner Brothers, of course). But is there still hope for conscious rap? Kweli will answer your question come July.

Ear Drum is out July 24, 2007 on Blacksmith Music/Warner Brothers

1. Everything Man
2. NY Weather Report
3. Hostile Gospel
4. Say Something
5. Country Cousins
6. Holy Moly
7. Eat to Live
8. In the Mood
9. Soon the New Day
10. Electrify
11. Hell
12. More or less
13. The Perfect Beat
14. Hot Thing