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Mos Def - The New Danger
Dear Dante Smith (or Mos Def),
by: Sun-J

First off let me tell you how passionately I enjoyed your previous work. Blackstarr was an amazing movement, and 1999's Black On Both Sides was revolutionary for hip hop. After hearing "Close Edge" on the Chapelle show, I was pretty enthusiastic about this album, but after two thorough listens, I have to say, where the hell did the "universal magnetic b-boy' go?

Your album begins with "Boogie Man Song." This track feels like a 311 knockoff with its lounge, rock feel. Completely what I did not expect, though because it is the first track, I let it slide. But, then you bring on "Freaky Black," filled with poignant metal riffs. Was all this necessary to spew your political propaganda over? "Ghetto Rock" finally seems to put the album in place with the rap, but your vocals are very cluttered between the noise margins. Maybe you should actually leave the sound engineering to certified professionals next time. "The Rape Over" was actually very entertaining, but at the same time disappointing. It seems the whole theme of this album thus far had been uniqueness, but you just bit Jay-Z's "The Takeover" flow, while pointing out that old white men, MTV, Viacom and clear channel are "runnin' this rap shi*t." While this is true, lines like, "...Old white men is runnin' this rap sh*t, corporate force is runnin' this rap sh*t..." just reiterate the notion that you hate white people (though I do agree with, "...Quasi-homosexuals are runnin' this rap sh*t..." because "hardcore" gangsters should not be caught in public wearing pink). That can't be very good for album sales, but maybe the point of this album was not to sell the most copies, just make weird music because you have decided you are John Coltrane. Andre 3000 tried that already with "The Love Below, but you have so far sounded like Q-Tip on Kamaal The Abstract. "Black Jack" is an honest attempt at blues, but all the chords your band play have been used over and over, and the songs just seem like regurgitated blues music. However, I did enjoy the bleusy guitar riffs of "Bedstuy Parade" and "Sex, Love & Money" seems to be the standout track with respect to your "new sound."

"Two Words" on Kanye's album was magnificent, so I am glad to see you hooked back up with him for "Sunshine." You really shine on this track utilizing your vintage flow. "The Panties" sounded like a retarded R&B version of "Ms. Fat Booty." The lyrics of "war" are very uninspiring, and on "Grown Man Business" you used the same Barry White sample that Ghostface Killah ate up on "The Watch" in 2001. I have to hand it to you though, "Modern Marvel" was very long, clocking in over nine minutes, but your alternating singing and rapping kept me interested. When I first heard "Life Is Real" I had to double reference the album cover, because I swear it's Beanie Segal rapping with his syllable stressing flow, "My whole life is ILL, filled with magic, strife and SKILL."

From a fan's standpoint this album was very disappointing. I hoped for the illustrious verbal fire from Black On Both Sides. It seems like all the tracks you do with your band, Black Jack Johnson, are just garage rock out sessions. I mean, don't get me wrong, you did bring lyrics on some of the rock songs (I am the most beautiful boogie man, Let me be your favorite nightmare, Close your eyes and I'll be right there), but I am just not ready for the transition into rock. I feel as if you are a hypocrite; you once castrated Limp Bizkit for rock-rap, you are now following in his foot steps. Your album as a whole is filled with many ideas and musical concepts, but the orchestration of these manifestations become an afterthought in the abyss of musicianship. I will admit one thing, every time I listen to the LP, it grows on me. Perhaps me being a huge Mos Def fan was the problem. I had different expectations. You should include a warning sign on the CD that reads: WARNING, PLAY ALBUM WITH CAUTION. MOST TRACKS ARE LIKE "UMI SAYS." Wait, maybe that is what you meant by the album title, "The New Danger."




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