Anyone who has only heard of Mos Def through that new track from the ‘Lyricist Lounge’ should be hung up by their nuts and slapped around the face. Mos Def may well be one of the best emcees of all time. His lyrical blessing and soft voice is almost hypnotic when listening. He’s completely able to come with more hard lyrics, then turn around and give you some chilled track like ‘Umi Says’. There’s no date I could find to see when he was first heard anywhere underground, but his first album was with Talib Kweli on the much respected ‘Black Star’ album. Since then, he has had nothing but respect from the hip hop industry and its fans. 1998 – Mos Def, along with Talib Kweli, were ‘Black Star’. Mos’ first major appearance.
Since ‘Black Star’, and even before that, Mos Def managed to feature on a lot of ‘The Roots family’ albums, as well as with his partner, Talib Kweli, on the ‘Reflection Eternal’ album. And then he brought out his own album in 1999. If you were wondering what it’s like to listen to a lyrical master, pick up this album. There’s no doubt that Mos Def is able to pull off some of the most scintillating rhymes in the game, and will make you listen harder, just so you can understand the underlying message. ‘Black On Both Sides’ as an album to listen to, however, does not completely match Mos’ rhyming skills. I can’t really dis the production on the album completely, because most of it is absolutely amazing. But, unlike Mos’ ability to rock tha m-i-c, a couple of tracks on the album lack in the mastery of production. We’re therefore left with a few tracks that will make you just want to either listen in accapella, or just skip the track. The production doesn’t take away much from the album, and in many places it’s very, very good. I won’t dispute that. Just that occasionally you’ll find yourself thinking ‘This beat/bassline is just getting boring now’. A real shame. 2000 – Mos joined forces with Talib + Hi-Tek on the ‘Train of Thought’ album, bringing the ‘Black Star’ force together again .
Mos Def is also religiously bound. As a follower of Allah, being part of Islam, Mos Def has brought a lot of religious/political messages, even self-reflective tracks. As such, we are left with a feeling of either fulfillment or at least something to think about. Mos Def has been known not to play in places that serve alcohol on religious grounds, which is a shame for anyone who wants to see him on tour, but also shows the commitment this man has to his beliefs, which is clearly shown throughout his album. Listen and learn is what I’d say to you here. 1999 – Mos Def was the quicker of the ‘Black Star‘ duo to bring out an album, but maybe more time could have been spent on production….
Reviewed By Hip Hop Network for HipHopHotSpot.Com