Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Mos Def

One of these days, if Mos Def ever decides he wants to be a musician again and not a movie star, I'm confident he could put together another great album. For the moment, all I can picture is this:

Mos Def is in his trailer on the set of Next Day Air. There's a simple little song written by a friend playing on his iPod. To pass the time, he begins to spit short raps off the top of his head, or shout out short phrases referencing classic rap songs, or simply dance in his chair going "check one, check two, check it out". Unfortunately that guy from "Scrubs" who is co-starring is in the next room, and he gets the whole thing on tape and forwards it to Mos Def's record company, which accidentally includes this tossed off melange of sounds on Mos' new album The Ecstatic. How embarrassing!

I'm not sure how else to account for a song like this, which would never, ever have seen the light of day 10 years ago, when Mos Def was an extremely hard working rapper, clearly agonizing over every phrase of every song, to get every last word exactly right, adding layers of meaning to his songs that most of his contemporaries couldn't even touch. And actually, the really annoying thing about this song is that, around the 2 minute mark, he really gets going for about 30 seconds, and gives you a glimpse of his old self, making it clear that if he'd wanted to spend the time writing a full length rap for this song, he probably could have done a good job. This song, like much of The Ecstatic, was just sort of half-assed.


drischord said...

I admire your steadfast faith in the man's talent, Q, given that you posted after hearing that garbage.

texplush said...

did you see pitchfork this morning? they gave it 'best new music'.
if the whole album is as bad as that track you linked to, then pitchfork has once again hilariously laid bare their total incompetence in matters of hip hop.
Q, not saying that it should in anyway, but does their review in make you reconsider your judgement of The Ecstatic?

drischord said...

I'm telling you: Pitchfork is comprised of pasty, white, skinny-jeans-wearing hipsters who a) fear being labeled as racist and b) assume that all rappers are active gang members who could have them killed on a whim, and thus reflexively give 94% of hip hop releases high scores based on fear alone.

texplush said...

Drischord, that is a ridiculous statement. You don't really believe that they grade based on their literal fear of rappers, do you?
I think they just have bad taste.

Quinapalus said...

Well, Pitchfork definitely did go through a period in which they were clearly trying to establish some sort of "street cred" or something by lauding lots of super-violent drug rap as the Truth of the Streets, and brushing off Mos Def and his ilk as too brainy and thus irrelevant. Maybe now they're overcorrecting, I don't know.

The whole album is not nearly as bad as that one song, and there are a handful of pretty good songs, but mostly I just think the album as a whole is kind of mediocre, and has a few real low points. More than anything I'm bored by it. If it becomes some sort of underground sensation, and turns out to be, for many people "the Mos Def we've been waiting for" then maybe that says more about me than the album, but I still plan to put about 3 tracks that I like on some sort of mix, and so far I remain unmoved by the rest.