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The New Danger

Mos Def

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Album Review

When it takes you five years to follow up a debut of near-landmark stature, you're setting yourself up for failure. Mos Def's second solo album is not disastrous, but it's a sprawling, overambitious mess. A handful of songs from this 75-minute affair feature Black Jack Johnson, the rock band Mos set up with some very respected musicians: bassist Doug Wimbish (Sugar Hill house band, Living Colour), drummer Will Calhoun (Living Colour), guitarist Dr. Know (Bad Brains), and keyboardist Bernie Worrell (Parliament/Funkadelic). Unsurprisingly, the hottest moments tend to come when Mos sticks to what he does best. One slight exception to this is "Modern Marvel," a nine-minute suite smeared with a series of Marvin Gaye samples. Mos sings in whispers (he makes Pharrell sound like Luther, but he has the required spirit), momentum floats in as easy as a light breeze, and then the MC shifts into goose pimple-raising mode. Throughout the whole thing, his conviction is apparent.

Biography

Born: 11 December 1973 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Initially regarded as one of the most promising rappers to emerge in the late '90s, Mos Def turned to acting in subsequent years as music became a secondary concern for him. He did release new music from time to time, including albums such as The New Danger (2004), but his output was erratic and seemingly governed by whim. Mos Def nonetheless continued to draw attention, especially from critics and underground rap fans, and his classic breakthrough albums — Black Star (1998), a collaboration...
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The New Danger, Mos Def
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