Album Review: Mos Def, The Ecstatic

mos-def-the-ecstatic Mos Def is part of one of my favorite duos of all-time (Black Star), and to be honest I really haven’t felt any of his solo projects since Black On Both Sides. The New Danger had Mos going in a different direction than previously heard, and Tru3 Magic just seemed like it was (for the lack of a better term) a half-assed effort. I remember hearing the buzz that this album was coming out this year, and prior to its release I was waiting with great anticipation. I can tell you that this album absolutely eclipses his two prior efforts, and to go even further I just may like this album more than Black On Both Sides.

The one thing that I really want to get across is that the production on this album is incredible. Brothers Oh No & Madlib (2 of my favorite producers) contribute to the soundscape of the album by collectively producing six tracks on the album. Ed Banger Vet, Mr. Flash puts forth three tracks that will have you crawling out of your skin (including the single “Life In Marvelous Times”). Another thing that you will notice is that Mos sounds very natural over a lot of these beats that seem tougher to spit over. Simply put, Mos sounds like he’s having more fun and he’s at home more than ever.

The first track, “Supermagic”, starts off with a Malcom X excerpt and blasts boldly into one of my favorite Oh No beats (“Heavy”). Mos flows fluidly as well as effortlessly over Dr. No’s heavy guitar loops and Turkish vocal samples and it makes for one of my favorites on the album. Madlib contributes another Eastern sounding beat off his Beat Konducta in India album for the track “Auditorium” which features Mos unleashing liquid lava with East Coast Legend Slick Rick. Mos spits a damn good verse on “Auditorium”, but the true joy to me is hearing Slick Rick spit as smoothly as he did years ago. Your favorite producer’s favorite producer (Jay Dee) provides the beautiful backdrop for “History” featuring Talib Kweli. It’s always nice to see Mos & Kweli on the same track showing off the chemistry that makes them one of the most incredible duos in the game.

My nod for favorite track on the album goes to “Life in Marvelous Times”. The beat that Mr. Flash provides Mos with is undeniably astonishing, and Mos spits very thought provoking lyrics about the times we have been living in. Mos spits, “We are alive in amazin’ times/delicate hearts, diabolical minds/revelations, hatred, love & war… not more or less than ever before, it’s just too much for your mind to absorb” and, “On-going saga, terminal diagnosis/basic human survival requires super-heroics/no space in the budget for a cape/so you gotta fly by the night to save the day”.

This is an example of yet another great album that has come out this year. This one holds very significant for me however because I feel like Mos is back on top of his game. The production side of this album is impeccable, and the rhymes that Mos puts down are just as potent. Don’t be surprised if you see this one hold up for one of my top albums of the year.

9 Great Big “Sighs” of Relief Out Of 10


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