Album: Mos Def, The Ecstatic (Downtown)

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The Independent Culture

Just when you think hiphopis a spent force, alongcomes one of its moreoriginal talents to provethat the genre can stillpack a punch.

Def, freshfrom a this Tony, thatEmmy and the otherGolden Globe actingcareer, is an unlikelysaviour – considered ashot bolt after 2006'sdisappointing True Magic.But here he is expoundinghis reality over an oftenEastern-influenced backdropthat reflects thepost-war on terror lyrics.Conscious rap that's notcondescending. Is that anew genre in itself?