Mos Def. Rapper. Actor. Entrepreneur. (I have no idea actually, but he really does seem to do it all though doesn’t he?) Anyways. He’s the guy. He’s funny, intellectual, and proficient in his current events and yes, some might even say wise. And all of those things are shown in his rapping. Three of his albums appear on my list, Black on Both Sides and another two more yet to be named. In all of them he is spot on lyrically as he deconstructs the world and its problems with a sense of humor that bites as much as it coddles and with understanding that rivals many of the worlds leaders. His view on life is not so much a unique as it is a view seen through many eyes, but voiced by one; Mos Def.
His beats are average at best, but the averageness of them I think makes them more special. He gets live drumbeats, live vocals and live instrumentation with a grooving bass line to keep it all together. It’s real hip-hop. The best tracks easily are “Ms. Fat Booty,” “Fear Not Of Man,” and “Rock N Roll.” All are a little different but all wonderful. “Ms. Fat Booty” is about exactly what it sounds like. It is Mos Def’s turn at being funny. When he says, “Ass so fat you can see it from the front,”it is too hilarious not to draw at least a little smile from anyone. But then on “Fear Not Of Man,” he is way more serious. He discusses where the genre of hip hop is headed, but along the way compares hip hop to how the world and its people are acting, creating a significant analogy between life and hip hop. “So the next time you ask yourself where Hip-Hop is goin ask yourself.. where am I goin? How am I doin?” Finally on “Rock N Roll,” addresses the heavily loaded topic of racism in the form of comparing white rock n roll stars to black stars that were there first. Mos Def uses the genres in music again to discuss something more important than music as he talks about how African Americans have done just as much for music as white folks. As serious as all that sounds, he delivers it well and peacefully. He gets his point across in a well-developed song as he always does. Mos Def is just too smart not too.