Black on Both Sides

Black on Both Sides

4.6 9
by Mos Def
     
 

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On his impressive debut solo endeavor, Brooklyn's mighty Mos Def delivers the album most true school hip-hop fanatics have patiently awaited since the original Native Tongues collective stopped speaking. BLACK ON BOTH SIDES is at once thoughtful (the anthemic "Hip Hop"), playful (the Slick Rick-meets-Wu-Tang-flavored "Ms. Fat

Overview

On his impressive debut solo endeavor, Brooklyn's mighty Mos Def delivers the album most true school hip-hop fanatics have patiently awaited since the original Native Tongues collective stopped speaking. BLACK ON BOTH SIDES is at once thoughtful (the anthemic "Hip Hop"), playful (the Slick Rick-meets-Wu-Tang-flavored "Ms. Fat Booty"), and righteously indignant ("New World Water," "Mr. Nigga" featuring Q-Tip). Unlike Mos's spotty Black Star longplayer from last year, this time around the mindspray is supported by consistently strong musical choices and excellent production from the likes of Diamond D, The Beatnuts, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and the always dependable DJ Premier. Undoubtedly, some underground purists may cry foul upon hearing Mos unleash some soulful crooning of his own (á la Lauryn Hill) on numbers like the hypnotically free-associative "Umi Says" or "Climb's," which features a melodic nod to Diana Ross. Such obtuse thinking misses the brunt of one of Mos's main messages -- one most pointedly illustrated on "Rock N Roll": "You may dig on the Rolling Stones/ But they ain't come up with that style on they own." In other words, whatever genre we're talking about, it's all Black music, baby. So don't hate -- celebrate.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Steve Huey
Mos Def's partnership with Talib Kweli produced one of the most important hip-hop albums of the late '90s, 1997's brilliant Black Star. Consciously designed as a return to rap's musical foundations and a manifesto for reclaiming the art form from gangsta/playa domination, it succeeded mightily on both counts, raising expectations sky-high for Mos Def's solo debut. He met them all with Black on Both Sides, a record every bit as dazzling and visionary as Black Star. Black on Both Sides strives to not only refine but expand the scope of Mos Def's talents, turning the solo spotlight on his intricate wordplay and nimble rhythmic skills -- but also his increasing eclecticism. The main reference points are pretty much the same -- old-school rap, which allows for a sense of playfulness as well as history, and the Native Tongues posse's fascination with jazz, both for its sophistication and cultural heritage. But they're supported by a rich depth that comes from forays into reggae (as well as its aura of spiritual conscience), pop, soul, funk, and even hardcore punk (that on the album's centerpiece, "Rock n Roll," a dissection of white America's history of appropriating black musical innovations). In keeping with his goal of restoring hip-hop's sociopolitical consciousness, Def's lyrics are as intelligent and thoughtfully crafted as one would expect, but he doesn't stop there -- he sings quite passably on several tracks, plays live instruments on others (including bass, drums, congas, vibraphone, and keyboards), and even collaborates on a string arrangement. In short, Black on Both Sides is a tour de force by an artist out to prove he can do it all. Its ambition and execution rank it as one of the best albums of 1999, and it consolidates Mos Def's position as one of hip-hop's brightest hopes entering the 21st century.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/04/2002
Label:
Rawkus / Umgd
UPC:
0008811290528
catalogNumber:
112905
Rank:
23011

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Mos Def   Primary Artist,Bass,Percussion,Conga,Drums,Keyboards,Vibes
Weldon Irvine   Piano,Keyboards
Busta Rhymes   Track Performer
Vinia Mojica   Vocals
Mathias Q-Tip   Track Performer
Talib Kweli   Track Performer
Johnny Why   Guitar

Technical Credits

Weldon Irvine   Arranger,Producer,String Arrangements
Beatnuts   Producer
Diamond D   Producer
DJ Premier   Producer
David Kennedy   Producer,Engineer
Ali Shaheed Muhammad   Producer
Mos Def   Producer,Executive Producer
88-Keys   Producer
Etch-A-Sketch   Producer
Shaka   Executive Producer
Psycho Les   Producer
Johnny Why   Engineer
Ayatollah   Producer
Ge-ology   Producer

Customer Reviews

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Black on Both Sides 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this album is across between the harlem renaissance and the second comming of black thought. mos def continues the linage of the native tonuges thru deep wise rapp and witty punch lines that makes the listener think to the wisdom droped by the god. on tapp with social issues mos just is to def for the main stream to hear.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mos Def is looking to take this hip hop thing to the next level. This album is very original. Mos Def does a little bit of everything on this album. People tend to compare Mos to a young Q Tip but Mos Def has his own sound and it doesn't sound like Q Tip. Cop this album and like everybody else I know who copped it you'll be satisfied.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is by far a must-own album. Mos creates music and lyrics that talk to the soul and the mind. He combines hip hop, soul and even a little rock and roll on a CD that everyone should own.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Being a baby in tha hip hop world I don't claim to kno anything but, i do kno that this cd is off tha hook. i am a 25 y/o female and i am now and forever a fan of this dude. Tha trax is all that and then some and i would buy it again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Just when you thought the influence of the native tongue era was on it's way out Mos Def grabs a hold of it and has became a major front runner in ushering the style for the new millenium. He delivers an album that tests the limits of the standard hip hop album. He sings(sometimes! and it only adds to his creativity), flows to a production team that matches his efforts greatly and lyrically provides some of the most thought provoking, complex yet not too complex bars not seen or heard in a while. He should have won New Artist of the Year at the 2000 Source Awards. In the end no matter how you look at it 'Black on both sides' leaves nothing to doubt about what this artist wants to deliver. If anything else Mos Def should be well respected for his efforts in attempting to get into the minds of hip hop's listeners and making ALL of us aware of the wrongful murders and brutality experienced by so many of minorites nation and world wide. Respect Due.
Guest More than 1 year ago
So now I see the light. From the cover with Mos' close-up to the last drop of music, this is dope. There isn't a song you have to skip, and he gives you something to chew on, or dance to. I love that the man can manage to drop so much philosophy and not bore you. From "UMI SAYS" to "NEW WORLD WATER" to "MR.NIGGA" to "MATHEMATICS" he narrates ideas we can all relate to, and have all pondered at one point in time. When an artist like Mos Def drops an album, don't hesitate to buy it, because another one like him may not appear. Love.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I went to college with this girl who was like one of the deepest hip-hop headz I'd ever met in my life. She used to be so disgusted with me because I enjoyed commercial hip-hop as much as I enjoyed underground hip-hop. But after I started writing for an underground hip-hop magazine, I realized why she was so frustrated with me. The lyric scheme, the themes, the style, and the presence of underground artists are EXTREMELY different. It's strange to me to actually turn my base down and actually listen to the lyrics that the rapper is spitting cause I usually just listen to beats and block them out. But as I learned from Def Poetry Jam, the lyrics really do matter. I knew it, I just ignored it. I used to believe that people are mad at Eminem for succeeding as a rapper, but if more lyricists paid attention to what they said and had a POINT, they may get more respect. But...on that same note...Mos Def is definitely underrated and he's lyrically equal to Eminem. Rakim and Talib Kweli are on the same note of being underrated because I turned the base OFF just to listen to them. I loved every track on here and I knew I would just because I enjoyed him so much on Def Poetry and the girl from college tried to shove his lyrics down my throat. She was his biggest fan and I see why.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mos def is definitely one of the best mcees in hip hop today. He goes from hip hop to jazz and he not only raps, but sings (Charlie Hunter : Analog playground). I recently saw the documentary - Freestyle: The Art of Ryhme (check it out) and he tore it up in a couple spots. I know this is about Mos Def's cd, but if you haven't already heard anything from Gift Of Gab, check him out too. As much as I like Mos Def, I thik Gift Of Gab is the best mcee out right now. Gift Of Gab and Cheif Excel make up Blackalicious. Pick up any of their cd's including Gift Of Gab's solo album 4th dimensional Rocket Ships Going Up and you will not be dissapointed I promise. If your tired of the garbage coming out of mcees mouth's nowadays (which I'm sure you are if your reading this) check out the Gift Of Gab's spiritaully consious flows that will keep you wondering how he does it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This CD is definitely worth picking up. I can't say it blew my socks off or anything. Mos Def is definitely on with his rhyme skills, but I think his production could be better. This CD gets better as it goes along. I would be happy if Do It Now w/ Busta Rhymes wasn't on the CD. Most of the tracks are good. I guess I'm just a little dissapointed when every track isn't as good as the previous. Mos Def's new CD sound interesting b/c he's experimenting with live instruments, and not just relying on some generic beat loop.