Mos Def - The New Danger - Review

"I am the most beautiful boogeyman." Huh? Are you kidding me? I waited 5 freakin' years for Mighty Mos to tell me this??? Now, the really funny part. I don't know why, but I actually like it a lot! Then Black Dante himself hits you with, "I'm the shot clock, way above the game." And with just that one line, it is with great pleasure that I pronounce M-O-S is D-E-F-initely back!

On The New Danger, Mos seems to have caught the same sophomore singing bug as Lauryn Hill on her Unplugged album. But it works. If, and this is a big IF, you've got the patience of a high school teacher! If you're looking for a pure rhymesayer, with punchlines and metaphors to hit you in the gut, grab a Kweli album. In fact, the Blackstar boys went much the way of Outkast in their latest respective solo ventures. Mos' album is similar to Andre 3000's genre-bending The Love Below, while Kweli beautifully struggles to keep it strictly Hip Hop like Big Boi's Speakerboxxx.

Mos tries to be everything on this album. A rapper, a rocker, a singer. A lover, a fighter, a thought-provoker. But, at times, he hardly shows up at all. For example, on "Freaky Black Greetings", it seems like we're barging in on him during sound check.

"Modern Marvel" is a beautiful 9-minute tribute to the legendary Marvin Gaye. But you could easily tune in at the 6-minute mark and not miss a thing - an eternity in the world of music. The general tone of the album is minimalist. Just listen to the lead single, "Sex, Love, Money". While it grows on you, it's definitely not what you'd expect to be Mos' first public offering after such a long hiatus. Which is probably why the listener fiends for the rare times Mos actually says something, like on "The Rape Over". This 90 seconds of fire is the reason Mos Def fans are still Mos Def fans. Because, if you think about, Mos has been away from the game though not officially, but for all intents and purposes for as long as MA$E has. But while the Minister went to God, Mos went to Hollywood. Welcome back gentlemen, the game needs you.

And the goodness continues. If you don't have "The Panties" on loop, you clearly have more than 99 Problems, son. On "Sunshine", Kanye West lends what seems -- for him -- to be a throwaway beat, but Mos Diddy breathes new life into it. I'll be the first to admit I cringed when I heard about the Black Jack Johnson project. But if "Ghetto Rock" is any indication of the hip rock fusion he's got in store, I want more. Mos closes the album nicely with his own "Champion Requiem".

With production help from heavy hitters like Raphael Saadiq, K.West, Psycho Les, 88 Keys, and Mos' new best friend, Minnesota, there are few holes in this album. But I can't help but to wonder just how much more dangerous this album could've been if Mos retained the services of old pals Ayatollah, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and DJ Premier? While I could do without tracks like "Blue Black Jack" and "The Easy Spell", like most Mos fans, I'll take what I can get to tide me over for what'll probably be another 5 years. See you in 2009! 

Beats: ****

Lyrics: ****

Originality: *****

Written By: Aadel Haleem