As a guy who got into hip-hop later in my youth I wasn’t too hot on classic hip-hop. It wasn’t until Mos Def that I really understood the appeal. His album with Talib Kweli, Blackstar, was undeniably fantastic. I also really enjoyed his work on The Ecstatic. His best record, Black on Both Sides, is one of my top five favorite classic Hip Hop albums. Mos Def is indisputably on point with his flow, bars, concepts, and his choice of beats.
Not enough people talk about this album. There are so many amazing songs on this album. I specifically want to break down “Do It Now” and “Mathematics,” two of my favorites on the album.
I have always had a thing for songs where emcees trade bars and “Do It Now” is ridiculously good; the increasing intensity all the way through, the upping of lyrics each verse. Mos Def and Busta Rhymes really flow and ride the beat, which is amazing, while trading splendid bars.
Why did one straw break the camel’s back? The million straws underneath it. Mathematics is one of the more political and socially inclined cuts on the album. It features some of Mos Def’s best wordplay and flow – the way he groups together phrases and words make it like a mathematical word problem(which is probably intentional). The beat is great and I love the record scratching.
I love this album. I don’t think enough people really appreciate this album the way it deserves. It is a great showcase of how awesome hip-hop can be when done right.
by Addison Garry