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Mos ‘Def’initely back to form

September 30, 2009

mos def 

I’ve been hearing a lot of stuff about Mos Def recently. A lot of good stuff actually. Not stuff like Mos is working on Be Kind Rewind 2: rewind harder, or 16 Blocks 2: 32 blocks, or anything like that. Rather, it’s stuff that proves he’s getting his musical sense back.

First, the guys over at Real Frequency were interviewing Diddy (still not sure why. Maybe Hammer was booked?) and a lot of their talk revolved around Mos’ album, The Ecstatic, being album of the year. I’m not sure I would agree with the album of the year tag, but it’s definitely been getting constant rotation at my house and I’m having a hard time coming up with one better right now. It’s still not as good as Black on Both Sides, or even The New Danger, but maybe people are just happy he’s back to form after the rushed mess of an album that was True Magic.

I’m also hearing a lot about how amazing he’s been live this year (he did a really cool version of Quiet Dog on Letterman), which is disappointing because I caught him at Rock the Bells in Toronto and he definitely was not amazing. In his defence he was booked last minute after Common dropped out and they didn’t even have his music (guess they never heard of downloading) so it was a hodge podge act of randomness until Talib Kweli came out and more than saved it with some nostalgic Black Star tracks.

Then of course there is this trailer of him working with Damon Dash and the Black Keys (among others) on a project called BlackRoc that looks like it’s going to be amazing when it drops November 27.

But the most interesting thing is definitely something that came out of an interview with Filter about how he is working on a documentary about a band of black punk rockers from Detroit, circa 1971, called Death, and how they were the originators of the punk sound. I think it’s fair to say that Mos’ mission in life is to prove that black musicians were at the forefront of every musical movement in the history of the universe.

“These dudes were pre-Sex Pistols, pre-Bad Brains, pre-all that shit, and nobody knows them,” he said.

And clearly Mos didn’t know about them either when he penned “Rock n Roll,” a song that sounds like it could be played during the closing credits of his documentary: (Elvis Presley ain’t got no soul / Bo Diddley is rock and roll / You may dig on the Rolling Stones / But they ain’t the first place the credit belongs).

Mos definitely has a case for Death being innovators of punk though, with even the New York Times arguing the case back in March.

So there is definitely a lot of stuff to look forward to from Mos, but let’s just hope that unlike his tribute to Fats Waller in Be Kind Rewind, the Death documentary isn’t “sweded.” And since the only way to see Mos Def as Fats Waller is to actually watch the movie (since I can’t find a clip of it anywhere), which I highly discourage, you’ll just have to take my word for it.

 

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Anupa permalink*
    September 30, 2009 11:40 am

    Be Kind Rewind was so horrible.
    I have a love/hate relationship with Mos Def, but basically post-True Magic I gave up on him. I don’t like his rap-singing and, unlike Common, his preachiness gets to me. Those factors, plus the fact that I lose interest in majority of rappers who pursue corny acting careers.

  2. Simon permalink*
    October 1, 2009 1:41 am

    I… enjoyed Be Kind Rewind.

    I’m a Jack Black sucker though. I find him funny all the time, so I may be biased.

    Out of curiosity, what gives a rapper carte blanche to be preachy?

  3. October 1, 2009 12:23 pm

    I don’t mind Mos pursuing the acting. His roles haven’t been totally successful, but I don’t think his choices are corny. He’s like Pac, he’s been an actor as much and as long as he’s been a rapper. It’s just unfortunate the music had to suffer for it, which it did. I didn’t hate The Ecstatic, but I didn’t care about it either.

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