Talib Kweli's been engaging in an online war with racists, bigots, Nazis and Russian trolls, and he's not backing down ... because he says it's empowering to put them in their place.
The rapper and activist tells TMZ ... combating Nazism in the Russian hip-hop scene is just the tip of the iceberg -- he says the racist trolling online goes way deeper and darker than that, but he's up for the challenge.
Talib feels certain world leaders -- Putin and Trump among them -- are coddling racists and allowing their message to spread. He says racist behavior on social media can't just be dismissed as harmless trolling, because it enables more racism ... and he's out to check it.
Kweli concedes many people aren't up for battling bigots because it's too stressful, but the good news -- he makes it clear it doesn't stress him out at all ... he loves it.
The rapper says the feeling he gets when he's able to correct a racist liar or get Nazis' accounts taken down is nothing but empowering ... and his fans are joining the charge.
Talib adds the reason he's fighting the good fight is to follow in the footsteps of past brave leaders like MLK and Malcolm X ... who weren't afraid of death, but knew what was worth dying for.