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Mos Def – The Ecstatic – Rating: B

Submitted by on June 21, 2009 – 6:42 AMNo Comment
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mos-def-the-ecstaticMany would say Hollywood has gotten the best of Mos Def these past few years. And the reality is its true. After a string of dire releases (The New Danger, True Magic), most of Def’s fans have jumped ship and set sail with the more consistent half of the Black Star duo: Talib Kweli. To put it truthfully, Mos Def hasn’t put out a great album since his solo debut, Black on Both Sides.

His peers continue to promote him as one of the best in the industry, while his fans continue to doubt his ability to make great music. One thing recognizable about Mos Def is he is never fazed—he always has his eyes set on proving the naysayers wrong (which unfortunately for him is everyone). And that’s what The Ecstatic does. Without a shadow of a doubt, The Ecstatic is an album that lives up to its title, talking the talk and walking the walk.

Center stage belongs to Mos and the legendary Slick Rick on “Auditorium,” where bragadocious rhymes and stunning narratives capture the imagination through the art of storytelling. For the Ruler to step off his throne and bless a record with his presence is a milestone in its own. Lessons well learned, “Priority” shares our protagonist’s moral conscious, enlightening the audience about his most beloved treasures and the evils that can misguide the foolish.

It’s a different world from where we all reside, but “Life in Marvelous Times” looks to prove that we are all united by the same tribulations. This satirical revelation of the unprosperous times we’re experiencing is a worldwide epidemic that Mos takes pride in addressing. The passionate bond between a man and his sterling silver suffers heartbreak on “Pistola”. The notion of Mos symbolizing a gun to a first love is a revisited concept (Nas “I Gave You Power”), but he manages to make it refreshing. Here’s a record suitable for the criminal minded.

An insanely looped piano riff makes “Super Magic” more infectious than the chicken pox. It’s evident that Mos enjoys toying around with the several melodies he belts out, adding bittersweet ingenuity in the process. “Casa Bey” produces a fantastic electronic Jazz production that accommodates Mos’ rhyme precision. It’s a record that magnetizes you the moment you hear it. Picture “Umi Says” at an uptempo speed and that’s what you have here.

‘Pretty Dante’ brings us back to Mos Def that we fell in love with. He really exploits his storytelling abilities to the fullest and it pays off for him. The plethora of short-length records will keep you torn on making your final decision, but after going through a second listening session, toasted-lageryou’ll notice it isn’t necessary to overstretch the length of his catalog. His execution is precise.

Mos Def continues to flirt with disaster. He stretches his creative lengths into new territories, but he manages to pull off an amazing album that helps reconstruct his legacy. The resurrection of Mos Def is here. All real MC’s beware—a new danger has emerged.

Beer Pairing: The recommendation here is Blue Point Toasted Ale. A strong taste must accommodate a bold musician.