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Black On Both Sides

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Editors’ Notes

Mos Def is an anomaly. Most emcees rap to live. Mos Def lives to rap. Black on Both Sides is a testament to multiple "selves": self-control, self-esteem, self-awareness. He enlists nine producers to get this vision across, yet maintains an enviable level of focus and consistency. Give credit to Mos Def's distinct, coffee-flavored flow, heightened by poetics that encourage deep thought. "Hip Hop," "Know That," and "Mathematics" are all expertly crafted lessons from the new school. "Got" is a warning to those who floss; you could get taken. "Rock & Roll" dispenses knowledge about rock's origins, culminating in a furious mosh pit.

Customer Reviews

A Profound Experience

Having been a hip hop fan for over 25 years, I am still hard pressed to recall a Hip Hop cd (tape, album) that has grabbed me in such an arresting manner—Paid in Full, Takes a Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back, and Criminal Minded may come to mind as I struggle to recreate the feeling I get when I listen to "Black on Both Sides." Some albums become classics because of lyrical content, musical originality and soulfulness, the larger than life image of the Eemcee, timing of the album release, or some combination of the aforementioned. Black on Both Sides from the first track to the last will have you testing your speaker capability as you try to crank-up the volume to get the full effect. The subject matter is a breath of fresh air from the tired metaphors with which rappers drown us: “my money, my bling, my things, my bit*h..etc” The music is still an vanguard, although unequivocally (and unapologetically) east coast—specifically NYC. And it could not have come at a more needed time. There are very few artist today that take the time to construct a piece of art through their lyrics while simultaneously presenting (and sometimes recreating) the world in digestible 3-4 verses, having us leaving the experience if not better, then at least more profound for having “peeped the style.”

Best Rap Album I have ever heard

Too bad the album following this one was such a letdown. I guess thats to be expected given the near-perfection that this album achieves... I say near, because a couple of tracks could be done without, such as "Rock N Roll", a disturbingly narrow minded view of musical history. Personally, I found the rest of the album to be a revelation... This is what rap should have been throughout the 90's. No offense but mainstream Rap amounts to something akin to a musical vending machine, cheap instant gratification crap with no real substance or value. This album is not like that, this is a real work of art that will reward you with its insight and impressive but not overly complex musicality.

Best album regardless of musical taste.

Few albums can trensend simple genres to become sometihng more. Black on Both Sides does just that. Mos Def is one of, if not the best, hip-hop MCs around. His smooth intro to the album stes the tone for a mellow look at many subjescts over looked in the age of generic rap. "Speed Law" is a perfect example of the lyrical fire power Mos has. The most impresive part of all his verses is how he can just jump straight into them without building up steem as many other rappers have to do. "Mathematics" is the best song on this amazing album and is still the best song to date by Mos. The depth of the lyrics doesn't set in the first time you hear it so this one is worth a couple times in a row. It also has one of the most distinct beats in the last ten years. Mos also shows off his ability to sing on a few tracks but his amazing vocabulary and smooth flow are the main reason to pick up this artwork. Even if you hate rap, this album will become one of you favorites in no time.

Biography

Born: December 11, 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...
Full Bio