Review: Mos Def – The New Danger

As one of modern Hip-Hop’s most consistent and appealing artists, this much-anticipated long player arrived with a considerable dollop of expectation. After 1998’s Black On Both Sides’ success fans were probably hungry for more funk- and soul-laced tightness: this, however, takes an entirely different thread of the beats-and-rhymes formula and cooks up something a little more experimental.

From the off the album fuses stripped down drums with aggressive rock stabs and wailing electric guitars – most notably on ‘Ghetto Rock’ and ‘Zimzallabim.’ After the exhilarating though perplexing first third the Rock and Blues influence stands down to allow for typically high-calibre rapping over some often uninspiring yet quality beats; ‘Sex, Love And Money’ a club-orientated track with some big, sparing kick drums a la Neptunes.

As in his debut album political consciousness is prevalent – ‘War’ being an obvious response to the current political climate. In a continuation of the near-psychedelic soul-soaked moments of Black On Both Sides, ‘Modern Marvel’ spends nine-plus minutes weaving a Marvin Gaye ‘What’s Going On’ sample around Mos Def’s hauntingly sentimental singing, to hypnotic effect.

As a step into new musical styles whilst maintaining an edgy, self-aware shade of Hip-Hop, The New Danger certainly succeeds. Whether or not it is immediately appealing to existing fans or newcomers is questionable, though that clearly is not its intention – it is, refreshingly, a far cry from much of the stale music emerging from the ‘R’n’B’ tinged quarters and succeeds in elevating Mos Def into an increasingly influential position within Hip-Hop.

Alex Frascina

(Released October 2004)

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5 Responses to Review: Mos Def – The New Danger

  1. Anonymous says:

    True. In next year’s movie version of Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Ford is being played by Mos Def. An interesting move but one I’ll have to see (and am interested to see) before I’d comment.


  2. Anonymous says:

    He’s becoming a bit of an all-rounder; saw him in a recent Alicia Keys video as her diner-lurching dark horse boyfriend!

  3. Anonymous says:

    This is only acceptable if he does an English accent. Which he won’t.

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