Mos Def

(Copyright © 1999-2022 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )

Black Star (1998), 6/10
Black on Both Sides (1999), 7/10
The New Danger (2004), 5/10
The Ecstatic (2009), 6.5/10
Negus (2019), 6.5/10
Black Star: No Fear of Time (2022), 6/10

New York's rapper Mos Def (Dante Smith) reacted to gangsta-rap by bringing back the philosophy of the Native Tongues posse. Black Star (1998) was a collaboration with rapper Talib Kweli mostly produced by Tony "Hi-Tek" Cottrell, and containing K.O.S. (Determination), and his solo Black on Both Sides (Rawkus, 1999) highlighted his serious-minded approach to rap music and his unified take on rock, soul, dub and funk. Hence the slim blend of dub bass, syncopated drumming and jazzy organ of Fear Not Of Man. Hence the funky horn fanfare of the tragic self-reflection Hip Hop. Hence the guitar hiccups of Do It Now, the jazzy African chant Umi Says, the pan-ethnic shuffle Mr Nigga, etc. His propensity for smooth and calm structures accounts for the lazy Ms Fat Booty, decorated with a hypnotic loop of female vocals, the mellow Speed Law, the easy-listening melody of Climb (reminiscent of Diana Ross' Where Are You Going To), and the oneiric Rock 'n' Roll, with the most viscous rhythm. He betrays a bit of impatience in New World Water and Know That, and especially in the noir oppressive cinematic Brooklyn, but not enough to alter his fundamental stance of detached observer.

He also formed the black rock supergroup Black Jack Johnson with Parliament's keyboardist Bernie Worrell, Bad Brains' guitarist Dr Know, Living Colour's drummer Will Calhoun and Living colour's bassist Doug Wimbish.

The New Danger (2004) was an inferior solo album that continued his probe of funk-rock-soul-rap fusion.

The ambitious The Ecstatic (Downtown, 2009) was produced by J Dilla, Madlib, Chad Hugo, Oh No, Georgia Ann Muldrow, Mr Flash. A creative and exhilaring tour de force, the 16-song collection displays a cohesive approach to social analysis, metaphorically amplified in the whirling pan-ethnic shuffles of Supermagic and Revelations, with a peak of orchestral pathos in Life In Marvelous Times. The aggressive arrangements of the trombone-dynamited Twilight Speedball make up for any rapping inadequacy. The producers pick a fantastic polyrhythm and Mos Def rides it with spectacular lightness in Quiet Dog Bite Hard (that quotes Rapper's Delight). Mos Def's soft and mature touch permeates the almost funereal Auditorium and the old-fashioned funk-soul of History, but this time the emotional core lies in the other ego.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Mattia Andres Lombardo)

Il rapper di New York Mos Def (Dante Smith) ha rielaborato il gangsta-rap attraverso la filosofia dei Native Tongues Posse. Black Star (1998) č una collaborazione con il rapper Talib Kweli prodotto da dj Hi-Tek e altri giovani produttori, mentre Black on Both Sides (Rawkus, 1999) ha evidenziato il suo approccio serio alla musica rap oltre a un approccio tanto vario quanto massificato al rock, al soul, al dub e al funk. Da qui la sottile miscela di basso dub, batteria sincopata e organo jazz in Fear Not Of Man. Oppure la fanfara Funky nella tragica e autoriflessiva Hip Hop. O ancora il singhiozzo emesso dalla chitarra in Do It Now, il canto jazzy africano di Umi Says, il pan-ethnic shuffle di Mr Nigga, e cosė via. La sua propensione per le strutture lisce e tranquille genera Ms Fat Booty, decorata con un loop ipnotico di voci femminili, la dolce Speed Law, la melodia easy-listening di Climb (che ricorda il film di Diana Ross Where Are You Going To), e l'onirica Rock 'n' Roll, con un ritmo pių denso. Mos Def rivela un po' d'impazienza in New World Water e in Know That, e in particolare nel noir opprimente cinematografico di Brooklyn, ma non abbastanza da modificare la sua posizione di osservatore distaccato.

Mos Def ha anche formato il supergruppo di "rock nero" Black Jack Johnson con il tastierista dei Parliament's Bernie Worrell, il chitarrista dei Bad Brains Dr Know, il batterista dei Living Colour Will Calhoun e il bassista, del medesimo gruppo, Doug Wimbish.

The New Danger (2004) č stato un album solista che ha continuato la sua ricerca di fusione tra funk, rock, soul e rap.

L'ambizioso The Ecstatic (Downtown, 2009) č stato prodotto da J Dilla, Madlib, Chad Hugo, Oh No, Georgia Ann Muldrow, Mr Flash. Un tour de force creativo ed esilarante, una raccolta di 16 canzoni che mostra un approccio coeso all'analisi sociale, amplificato metaforicamente nelle giravolte pan-etniche di Supermagic e Revelations, con un picco di pathos orchestrale in Life In Marvelous Times. Gli arrangiamenti aggressivi di Twilight Speedball, con trombone esplosivo, compensano ogni inadeguatezza del rap. I produttori scelgono una fantastica e dinamica sessione ritmica che Mos Def cavalca con spettacolare leggerezza in Quiet Dog Bite Hard (che cita Rapper's Delight). Il tocco morbido e maturo di Mos Def permea la funebre Auditorium e la vecchia anima funk di History, ma questa volta il nucleo emotivo risiede nell'altro ego.

In 2012 Mos Def changed name to Yasiin Bey and after a hiatus of ten years he released Negus (2019), but only as the soundtrack to a multimedia show in Dubai. Black Star, Mos Def's collaboration with Talib Kweli, returned after 24 years with a diligent if outdated No Fear of Time (2022), produced by Madlib, containing The Main Thing Is to Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing, O.G., Freequency, and No Fear of Time.
(Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
What is unique about this music database