“The way I feel sometimes its too hard to sit still / things are so passionate, times are so real” - can’t think of a more important time to repress this record than 2017. Mos Def sets himself apart from the rest of the post-Rawkus set by constantly tearing up the rulebook and thinking outside of the box, tapping into blues rock on 2004’s The New Danger and using Juvenile’s “Nolia Clap” as a vehicle for a spine-tingling indictment of the Bush Administration on 2006’s True Magic. For his fourth (and at time of writing, most recent) solo full-length, Mos reaches into the underground and scoops up cult Stones Throw beatsmiths Madlib, Oh No and Georgia Anne Muldrow. In 2017, this sort of cross-pollination is commonplace, but in 2009, Mos was a movie star, and him tapping Madlib for beats was a huge deal (seven whole years before ‘Lib had a credit on a Kanye record). The Neptunes’ contribution (“Twilite Speedball,” rumored to be a rare Chad Hugo solo production) sounds right at home next to Madlib’s beats for “Auditorium” (feat. Slick Rick) and “Wahid,” two of the album’s toughest records. Other highlights include “Pretty Dancer,” “Casa Bey” and the Dilla-produced “History” featuring Black Star homie Talib Kweli. Mos leaps from raw spit to neo-soul croon (“Roses”) and bodega serenade (“No Hay Nada Mas”) as effortlessly as the man on the sleeve leaps between two buildings (a still from Charles Burnett’s 1978 film Killer of Sheep). With original copies going for up to $400 (yes, really), this double vinyl repress is paramount (“and it's very necessary, get it clearly”). Recommended.
- double vinyl pressing
- music label: Downtown Music 2009 / 2017
reviewed by hannibal chew 10/2017