Black on Both Sides

Black on Both Sides

4.6 9
by Mos Def
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

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. FatSee more details below

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.

Read More

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:
10/12/1999
Label:
Priority Records
UPC:
0049925014129
catalogNumber:
50141

Tracks

Read More

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

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >