Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Album Review: Mos Def - The Ecstatic

The Mighty Mos, Black Dante, Boogie Man, Pretty Flaco, Freaky Night Watchman - whatever name you pick, people who know hip-hop will know exactly who you mean. And rightfully so; after semi-debuting with a classic album and forming one of the genre’s most celebrated trios (teaming up with Kweli & Hi-Tek), then following with a solo project that reached near-classic status (Black On Both Sides), this BK emcee surely deserves that recognition. However, after splitting with Rawkus Records and inking with Geffen, Mos Def turned in a new direction, experimenting with new genres and, in many cases, mashing them together. This approach was taken on his next two albums, The New Danger (2004) and True Magic (2006), and was received with mixed feelings. Many have been longing for another Blackstar album (the first CD I ever burned), or at least something that resembles BOBS. Is this the record that brings us back?


Madlib provides a good portion of the production on this record, and he doesn’t disappoint. The best track on the album may be “Auditorium,” which features a sample that instantly reminded me of Wu-Tang’s 36 Chambers. The beat features strings, muffled keys, and perfectly placed percussion, and Mos Def’s flow weaves them all together seamlessly. Slick Rick closes out the track with his signature drawl and some Iraq-themed storytelling, and his performance is one of the best-fitting guest spots I’ve heard on a record this year.

Another nice track that rivals the album’s best is the J Dilla-produced “History,” which features Talib Kweli and a soul sample cut in the way that instantly reminds you of the late great producer. Mos and Kweli each contribute a verse, and their flows throw you back to the days of "Definition" and "Respiration."

A third track that deserves its own mention is “Life In Marvelous Times,” produced by Mr. Flash. This caught my ear instantly; to be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever heard Mos on a beat quite like this one before. An electronic-themed melody is anchored by strings, occasional horns, and simple, echoed, banging percussion. The dramatic sound that results is something that Mos should experiment with more. In fact, if it weren’t for some ill-timed electronic-string stabs in certain portions (listen to it, and you‘ll know exactly what I mean; they kick you in the head the first time you hear them), this could rival the two tracks above as the album’s best.

Other notables include “No Hay Nada Mas,” which features a smooth guitar sample and Mos rapping entirely in Spanish; “Supermagic,” which incorporates a distorted, Arabian-type guitar riff; “Priority,“ which employs a simple piano sample that Mos murders with one verse; and “Twilite Speedball,” a Chad Hugo-produced track that shows clear Neptunes influences.


There’s one aspect of this album that, unfortuantely, I have to mention; out of 16 tracks, only 5 of them are at least 3 minutes long. There are even three tracks under 2 minutes, and two tracks are 2:02 and 2:03, respectively. This certainly doesn’t seem like Mos Def’s most concentrated effort; it’s not like the short tracks just feature verse after verse with no chorus. As corny as this sounds, you never want to listen to an album and feel like an artist is shorting you, and not giving you their best in the booth. Sadly, this album makes you wonder at times, especially when good tracks are 1 minute, 23 seconds long (“Priority”).


If you’re looking for the album that reminds you of the Mos Def of the late-90s, you won’t find it here. If you can get past the fact that Hi-Tek isn‘t behind this one though, this album will grow on you after listening through it a couple of times. Mos is still one of the best lyricists around and his flow is still unique; to be sure, he hasn’t lost any of that. What people may want to see, however, is a step in an old, familiar direction; to the days when his production was a bit more polished and traditional.

RATING: 3.5 out of 5

- JB

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sunday R&B Jams

Breaking you off with some straight up hits.....

LLCoolJ ft BoyzIIMen-Hey Lover

Jagged Edge ft Run Dmc-Lets get married

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

WEdnesday hits

Here is some new music late in the day, but at least its here......


One of the most slept on rappers of all time....

Download Freeway HAHAHAHA 2dope mp3

Jadakiss ft Eve, Drag-On, Styles P, Sheek Louch & DMX

Anew Ruff Ryders anthem?

Download Who Real Rmx Eve Drag Styles Sheek Louch DMX mp3

B.G. ft. Juvenile-WE FLY

Ready for that hot boys reunion...

Sunday, June 7, 2009

New Music Monday

Lots of new music hitting the street, so im getting a jump on it early....

Jay-Z-D.O.A(Death of autotone)

First street single off of Blueprint 3

Download here: Download Jay Death Autotune Dirty 2dope mp3

Fabolous ft Jay-z-When the money go

Hot track off of Loso's way out June 30th

Download Fabolous When the Money Goes rmx Feat Jay 2dope mp3

Fabolous ft Ne-yo-Makin love

Download Fabolous Makin Love Feat Neyo TAGS 2009 mp3

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Throwback Jam of the Day

Not much new music today so I thought I'd break you off with my throwback jam.....

PeteY Pablo-Raise Up

Raise Up - Petey Pablo

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Throwback Jam of the Day

Lil Jon-I don't give a fuck

I was sad to see it go because the crunk movement had the streets banging from block to block.......

Wednesday Street Bangers

Some hot new joints to get you through hump day.....

Mos Def ft Talib-History

Download Mos Def History Feat Talib Kweli Prod Dilla 2dope mp3

Chamillionare ft Bobby Valentino-Patron

Download Chamillionaire Patron Feat Bobby Valentino 2dope mp3

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Pied Piper

So today I was not holding down any streets except for the ones at work, but I have a the hottest mixtape for all of you, the R. Kelly Gangsta Grillz Mixtape.

My Favorite R&B singer of all time and he's Chi-Town's own....

Monday, June 1, 2009

New Music Monday

Here are some hot new joints to start the week off....

Twista-I can make you say(Produced by Kanye)

An unreleased banger from Chi-Town's own

I Can Make You Say (Prod. by Kanye West) - Twista Ft Prince

Playaz Circle ft. Young Jeezy and Lil Wayne-Stupid Remix

I Can Make You Say (Prod. by Kanye West) - Twista Ft Prince