Friday, July 10, 2009

Album of the Week: Mos Def’s East Coast Ecstatic

If rap in general has suffered in quality lately, then East Coast rap, the original version of hip hop, has been in the most trouble. Lil Wayne is from New Orleans, Kanye and Common are Chicagoans, The Roots call Philly home, and anyone decent from NYC is, regrettably, washed up (KRS-One, De La Soul, Beastie Boys, etc.). So there’s plenty of room for Mos Def, a Brooklynite through and through, to bring back the East Coast sound, a hip hop style, if it had to be defined, that is less pop-influenced, more lyric-based and laced with tougher beats. And on The Ecstatic, Mos Def seems more concerned with creating a record that will be banging out of car windows in the five boroughs rather than being played on the radio (which it really won’t be – try finding Mos Def on the dial). There are a few tracks, like the fantastic “Quiet Dog” (as played on JeffMix2009.03.28), “Casa Bey,” and “Priority,” that deserve radio play, but that’s not the concern here. And while the beat isn’t exactly furthered along – and there really is too much filler, especially in the latter half of the record – it surely has been brought back. B

Mos Def: Casa Bey (from RCRD LBL)
from The Ecstatic

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