December 11, 2021

Happy Born Day, Mos Def! (Playlist)

Regarded as one of hip-hop's most introspective and insightful artists, Mos Def has shaped a career that transcends music genres and artistic medium. Taking a cue from the Afrocentric stylings of the Native Tongues crew, which included De La Soul, Jungle Brothers, A Tribe Called Quest and more, Mos Def has emerged as one of the more conscientious voices of new school hip-hop, alongside the likes of Common, Outkast, Goodie Mob and The Roots, to name just a few. Mos Def was born in Brooklyn, New York City... a child of hip-hop's Golden Era, he spent his childhood imbedded in the culture surrounding him as well as absorbing knowledge from across the artistic spectrum. With the release of "Universal Magnetic" (1996) Mos became an underground favorite in the hip hop world, leading to his legendary collaboration with Talib Kweli. The two formed Black Star whose debut album, Mos Def and Talib Kweli Are Black Star, would become one of the most critically acclaimed hip-hop albums. Mos followed that release with his 1999 solo debut, Black On Both Sides, which was certified gold and credited by critics as bringing hip-hop back to its soapbox roots. As with his music, Mos has demonstrated insight and passion with his acting career, appearing in numerous films, including 2002's romantic comedy Brown Sugar, for which he received an NAACP Image Award nomination; 16 BlocksThe Italian Job, Next Day Air, Cadillac Records, Be Kind Rewind, and more. I also heavily enjoyed his 2009 album, The Ecstatic and to some degree The New Danger and True Magic. Changing his name to Yasiin Bey, and arguably falling below the radar in some respects, musically, the man still embodies the same level of integrity and rhyme skills he always did, and we're just eagerly awaiting the next chapter in the life of one of the best lyricists in all of hip-hop. Is there a more conscious, lyrically-minded MC in hip-hop? Peep the playlist to be reminded...

Happy Born Day, Might Mos Def!