Album: Mos Def

The New Danger, GEFFEN

Mos Def has clearly been too busy in Hollywood to capitalise on the success of 1999's acclaimed Black on Both Sides. But Mos has finally thrown himself into the task with a vengeance, offering on this monumental follow-up what are effectively two albums in one. There's the hip-hop album you'd expect, featuring his stinging analyses of cultural degradation, produced by the likes of Minnesota, Molecules and Kanye West; then there's another album that attempts to update the conscious soul and jazz-funk fusion experiments of the early 1970s, full of wah-wah clavinets and Miles Davis-esque avant-jazz excursions. Tracks such as "Freaky Black Greetings" and "Ghetto Rock" are darkly mysterious, the music stretched between the subterranean rumble of drum tattoos and spindly shards of guitar, while Mos extemporises freely, paying tribute both to his band, Black Jack Johnson, and the boxing legend after whom they're named. Elsewhere, "Modern Marvel" uses loops from "What's Going On" as the basis for a med

Mos Def has clearly been too busy in Hollywood to capitalise on the success of 1999's acclaimed Black on Both Sides. But Mos has finally thrown himself into the task with a vengeance, offering on this monumental follow-up what are effectively two albums in one. There's the hip-hop album you'd expect, featuring his stinging analyses of cultural degradation, produced by the likes of Minnesota, Molecules and Kanye West; then there's another album that attempts to update the conscious soul and jazz-funk fusion experiments of the early 1970s, full of wah-wah clavinets and Miles Davis-esque avant-jazz excursions. Tracks such as "Freaky Black Greetings" and "Ghetto Rock" are darkly mysterious, the music stretched between the subterranean rumble of drum tattoos and spindly shards of guitar, while Mos extemporises freely, paying tribute both to his band, Black Jack Johnson, and the boxing legend after whom they're named. Elsewhere, "Modern Marvel" uses loops from "What's Going On" as the basis for a meditation upon Marvin, and the thrash-rap number "War" portrays war as "a global economic phenomenon". His most bitter verbals, however, are reserved for teen gangsters, contemptuously dismissed in "Sunshine": "You can show the little shorties how you bump and fake/ But dog, not the Def, I'm not impressed."

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