Train of Thought is the debut album of American hip hop duo Reflection Eternal, released October 17, 2000 on Rawkus Records. Collaborating as a duo, rapper Talib Kweli and DJ and hip hop producer Hi-Tek recorded the album during 1999 to 2000, following their individual musical work that gained notice in New York's underground scene during the late 1990s. Kweli had previously worked with rapper Mos Def as the duo Black Star, and Hi-Tek had served as producer on the duo's debut album.
Produced primarily by Hi-Tek, the album is characterized by dynamic, high-tempo tracks and a Soulquarians-type neo soul sound. It showcases Kweli's rapping and features themes of revolutionary mentality, love, the state of hip hop, and modern African-American culture. Upon its release, Train of Thought achieved moderate sales success and received critical acclaim from music critics.
|Los Angeles Times|||
Train of Thought was well received from music critics. Chicago Sun-Times writer Kyla Kyles said, "With a flurry of metaphors and below-the-basement underground beats, this train is on the right track. This disc proves that Kweli is a deep-thinking, gifted MC, and Hi Tek is an emerging wax master." AllMusic's Matt Conaway compared Reflection Eternal's music to the work of the Native Tongues collective, while writing that the album "houses enough merit to establish Talib as one of this generation's most poetic MCs". PopMatters writer Dave Heaton described Talib Kweli as "a hyper-articulate MC with a revolutionary's mind and a sensitive poet's heart, but he's also a world-class battle MC, able to rip other MCs' rhymes apart in a quick second". Rolling Stone called Train of Thought "the rare socially aware hip-hop record that can get fists pumping in a rowdy nightclub".
Pitchfork critic Sam Eccleston wrote of Kweli's boastful lyrics, "Kweli uses the rhythm as a foundation, building rambling, baroque rhyme structures on top of them, exhibiting his cock-eyed 'skills'. This kind of braggadocio doesn't weaken the effort in the same way his moralizing self-canonization does, if only because he can often back those claims up". Vibe shared a similar sentiment, writing "Reflection Eternal's great weakness is Kweli's excessive preaching about the state of hip hop, but at least he cares". The Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004) later called it "thick with fierce street raps ('Down for the Count' and 'Ghetto Afterlife'), maudlin soul ('Love Language'), and the type of insightful versifying Kweli has made his stock-in-trade ('Memories Live' and 'This Means You')".
|1||"Experience Dedication"||Tony Cottrell, Talib Kweli Greene||Hi-Tek||Dave Chappelle, Talib Kweli|
|2||"Move Somethin'"||Tony Cottrell, Talib Kweli Greene||Hi-Tek||Talib Kweli
|3||"Some Kind of Wonderful"||Tony Cottrell, Talib Kweli Greene||Hi-Tek||Talib Kweli|
|4||"The Blast"||Tony Cottrell, Talib Kweli Greene||Hi-Tek||Hi-Tek, Talib Kweli, Vinia Mojica|
|5||"This Means You"||Tony Cottrell, Talib Kweli Greene, Dante Smith||Hi-Tek||Mos Def|
|6||"Too Late"||Tony Cottrell, Talib Kweli Greene||Hi-Tek||Idle Warship|
|7||"Memories Live"||Tony Cottrell, Talib Kweli Greene||Hi-Tek||Talib Kweli
Big Del (background), Donte (background)
|8||"Africa Dream"||Tony Cottrell, Talib Kweli Greene, Weldon Irvine||Talib Kweli, Weldon Irvine, Hi-Tek (co-producer)||Talib Kweli|
|9||"Down for the Count"||Tony Cottrell, Talib Kweli Greene, Rashia Fisher, Alvin Joiner||Hi-Tek||Rah Digga, Talib Kweli, Xzibit|
|10||"Name of the Game"||Tony Cottrell, Talib Kweli Greene||Hi-Tek||Talib Kweli|
|11||"Ghetto Afterlife"||Tony Cottrell, Talib Kweli Greene, Nathaniel Wilson||Hi-Tek||Kool G Rap, Talib Kweli|
|12||"On My Way"||Tony Cottrell, E. Isaacs, J. Thomas||Hi-Tek||Kendra Ross, Tiye Phoenix, Vinia Mojica|
|13||"Love Language"||Tony Cottrell, Talib Kweli Greene, Helene Faussart, Celia Faussart||Hi-Tek||Les Nubians, Talib Kweli|
|14||"Love Speakeasy"||Tony Cottrell, Talib Kweli Greene||Hi-Tek|
|15||"Soul Rebels"||Tony Cottrell, Talib Kweli Greene, Kelvin Mercer, David Jude Jolicoeur, Vincent Mason||Hi-Tek||Talib Kweli, De La Soul|
|16||"Eternalists"||Tony Cottrell, Talib Kweli Greene||Hi-Tek||Talib Kweli|
|17||"Big Del From da Natti"||Tony Cottrell, D. Geralds||Hi-Tek||Big Del|
|18||"Touch You"||Tony Cottrell, Talib Kweli Greene, D. Stanford Jr., Dave West||Hi-Tek||Dave Chappelle, Piakhan, Supa Dav West, Talib Kweli|
|19||"Good Mourning"||Tony Cottrell, Talib Kweli Greene||Hi-Tek||Talib Kweli|
|20b||"Four Women"||Nina Simone||Hi-Tek, Talib Kweli (co-producer)||Talib Kweli
Darcel (background), Imani Uzuri (background), Katushia (background), Neb Luv (background), Tiye Phoenix (background), Tiyi Willingham (background), Tracie (background)
This Means You
Big Del from Da Natti
|"The Express" (Non-album single)
|"Down for the Count" (UK Only release)
|US Billboard 200||17|
|US Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums||5|