New York, NY – The relationship between Talib Kweli and Res is complicated. Multiple factors led to the Philly singer’s decision to take their personal business and put it on display for the world to see earlier this month.
Res, who was part of the group Idle Warship with the Black Star MC, accused Kweli of sexual harassment in a Twitter tirade on June 1. She also said he was holding her long-awaited album, Reset, hostage. Kweli has adamantly refuted both claims.
Although elements of Res’ story are true — Kweli admitted he tried to kiss her on a trip to Puerto Rico (and later apologized for the unrequited move) — it’s not as simple as it sounds. Kweli and Res have been friends for many years. But due to an ongoing court case and her contract with Javotti Media (Kweli’s label), Res evidently felt she had to take matters into her own hands.
“@TalibKweli you made a pass at me and you are bold face LIEING you apologize for doing it,” Res tweeted on June 1. But during the same Twitter spree, she later acknowledged Kweli did apologize to her.
“She used to be upset with the state of her career and talk a lot about how she wasn’t making any money,” Kweli explains to RealStreetRadio. “I was trying to figure out how to help her out. At that time, I was doing a lot of mixtapes and suggested that we do a mixtape together called Idle Warship Party Robot. Based on the mixtape, we got a record deal and we did an album called Idle Warship together. The album had a decent buzz, so we toured and became close friends on the tour.
“Whenever I travel, I always bring an engineer so I can always record. We used to go to exotic locations all the time, and one place we went was Puerto Rico together. Shit happened and it was something that was between friends. Years after that, we remained friends. Whenever she was in New York, she would stay at my house. All through 2015 when Res was staying at my house and we were working on her album, she never mentioned it once.”
Kweli asserts the facts are there that prove Res is essentially out to slander his name.
“She made this allegation years ago in an argument in an email, when the allegation first surfaced,” Kweli says. “I pushed back on it back then and we remained friends. It didn’t come up again and we worked together several times.”
“But we’re in litigation right now,” he continued. “I had sued her because she used a verse of mine without my permission. She’s been through several lawyers since this started, and the last communication we had about this was she was gonna pay me an amount over time or when she got her next deal. We were trying to figure out how she was gonna pay. It was around $12,000.”
Kweli says $12,000 for the verse in question is “beyond fair.”
“Considering not just what I’m owed or what I’ve invested in her, but also considering that she tried to use my verse without my permission after running that debt with me, and considering how she’s trying to defame me — that’s where we’re at with it,” he says. “She fired her lawyer, went on Twitter and decided to try to litigate the situation publicly.”
Over the past few years, Res and Kweli’s working relationship became increasingly strained. There were disputes over money, music and behavior, which ultimately landed them both in court. Res’ case against Kweli, which included the sexual harassment allegation, was thrown out last year.
Kweli provided screenshots of a 2014 email illustrating their contentious relationship even back then.
The final straw was in November 2014 when the father of Kweli’s longtime manager Donna Dragotta passed away, and Res wasn’t respectful of Dragotta’s bereavement period. From there, their friendship ceased and Res was dropped from Javotti Media.
But the Radio Silence artist doesn’t want people to simply take his word for it. He wants anyone questioning his actions to look at the facts.
“I’m not asking anybody to believe me,” he says. “What I would ask people to do is look at the evidence, the facts presented and the context. Look at the fact that there’s a counterclaim to a claim that I already made. Look at the fact that there’s obvious motive to lie about me. Look at the history and nature of my relationship with Res. Look at what the judge dismissed.
“The judge didn’t dismiss just her sexual harassment claim. The judge dismissed all three of her claims, including her claim that I was holding her music. To me, this is a pattern of lies and it’s clear evidence of a pattern of lies.”
Without Kweli’s monetary help, Res attempted to raise the money for Reset through an IndieGogo campaign, which is currently still active. To date, she’s raised almost $40,000 for the project. One of the “perks” for donors was an authorized song featuring Kweli, which is why Kweli sued her for the $10,000.
Kweli provided an email talking about the “perks” and asking for his support.
On May 25, as the lawsuit was in full swing, Res emailed Kweli and said the whole situation had “gone way too far.” But Kweli never responded to the email. That was one week before she took her accusations public.
While Res says she presented the album she was contractually obligated to deliver, Kweli says the project was never finished.
“Songs have to be mixed and mastered before you consider an album delivered but none of that happened,” he says. “There was no artwork delivered, no songs mixed and mastered, nothing. She’s on Twitter talking about the songs are in my email,. Yeah, I have rough MP3s of song ideas, but that’s not a delivered album. She’s preying on the ignorance of the consumer.”
He adds, “If it’s true that she delivered an album to me called Reset — which is not true — but if that’s true and I’m holding this album, and she knows that she don’t have the right to put out this album because clearly I own the album if she’s delivered it to me, then what album was she raising money for? She says she’s raising money for Reset.”
By April 2016, Res had raised $39,000. In the IndieGogo campaign’s about section, it said that Res is from the supergroup Idle Warship and known to work with Talib Kweli.
“If I sexually harassed, and you owe me this album, and you’ve already delivered this album to me, which is what you’re saying, then what album are you giving these people, and why are you using my name to promote it?” he says. “Not only on top of that, if that wasn’t enough, when you give her money for the IndieGogo, the reward you got was a song from her featuring me, which is a song I had recorded back when she was signed to me.”
Kweli waited for two months for Res to remove the song from the IndieGogo page and once she didn’t, he sued her.
“My lawyer asked her lawyer for $10,000,” he says. “Give me $10,000 and you can use the song. As we’re about to settle on that, Res counter claims and says I’m holding her album, I’m holding her career, and that I sexually harassed her. Those claims, all three of those claims were thrown out, because she didn’t have sufficient evidence to prove any of them.”
For now, Res still owes Kweli $12,000 and the case against him remains closed.
Res’ latest tweet on the matter was posted on Tuesday (June 12).