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The Ecstatic

Mos Def

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Album Review

During the first several years of the 2000s, it wasn't unreasonable to want Mos Def, one of the most dazzling living MCs, to make a rap album. After he released 2006's True Magic, his first all-rap release in seven years — following the back-to-back instant classics Black Star and Black on Both Sides — it was easier to understand why he had been devoting much more time to acting and diversions like The New Danger. It was evident that he was not inspired, no doubt prompting a fair portion of his followers to think, "OK, maybe we should have been more specific: please make a good rap album." On The Ecstatic, it's not as if Mos Def makes a full return to the lucid/bug-eyed rhymes heard on decade-old cuts like "Hater Players" and "Hip Hop." Instead, he comes up with a mind-bending, low-key triumph, the kind of magnetic album that takes around a dozen spins to completely unpack. Oscillating between cerebral gibberish and seemingly nonchalant, off-the-cuff boasts, it's obvious that Mos Def is back to enjoying his trade. For those who are deeply into the Stones Throw label, the album won't take quite as long to process. Some of the productions from brothers Madlib and Oh No were pulled from their instrumental releases, including a pair from the India-themed installments of the Beat Konducta series. Altogether, they provide much of the album's dusty off-centeredness; even though "Supermagic" has Mos Def at his most energized and alert, its needling psychedelic guitars and sweeping Bollywood drama are transportive. Combined with backdrops from Georgia Anne Muldrow, Preservation, the Neptunes' Chad Hugo, and the Ed Banger label's Mr. Flash, the album is a gumbo that adds juicy dub thwacks, regal synthetic horns, tangled piano vamps, dashes of spiritual jazz, and rolling Afro-beat, almost all of which is cloaked in light reverb. Though there are highlights throughout, two of the most notable tracks are at the very end: "History," where Talib Kweli joins in over a wistful J Dilla beat, and "Casa Bey," where a playful Mos Def somehow keeps up with Banda Black Rio's deliriously frantic samba funk.

Customer Reviews

YASIIN BEY

AFTER LISTEN TO THIS FOR SO LONG I GOTTA SAY THIS IS MY PERSONAL FAVORITE FROM MOS… RHYMING OVER BEATS ONLY MOS COULD RHYME OVER.. ITS ORIGINAL MUSIC AND THATS WHAT HIP HOP IS ALL ABOUT, ORIGINALITY...

Yasiin bey

Not his best but excellent album

Nice

Not his best but Mos Def is Most Definitely dope.

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