The New Danger
label: Geffen

production: Raphael Saadiq, Mos Def, Minnesota, Easy Mo Be, Kanye West, Warryn 'Baby Dubb' Campbell, Psycho Les, Molecules, 88 Keys.

guests: Black Jack Johnson, Paul Oscher, Shuggie Otis, Minnesota.
year of release: 2004
The Boogie Man Song
Freaky Black Greetings
Ghetto Rock
The Rape Over
Blue Black Jack w/ Shuggie Otis
Bedstuy Parade & Funeral March w/ Paul Oscher
Sex, Love & Money
Close Edge
The Panties
Grown Man Business (Fresh Vintage Bottles) w/ Minnesota
Modern Marvel
Life Is Real
The Easy Spell
THe Beggar
Champion Requiem

Modern Marvel

While Talib has taken the rather commercial route, Mos has taken his own; just to show what black music is/ can be/ will be/ should be. Just to give the critics a little something to bite and chew.
First, there's this rock n' roll thing. We all knew about his preference for heavy guitars, but now he's taking it further than ever. This might provoke some kind of frustration among his deepest but 'pure-hip hop' loving fans. But as he has always been proclaiming: Everything is hip hop. Hip hop is everything. I guess we just have to accept that.
Secondly, the music is often absorbing his raps. In this way his voice is employed as an instrument, filling itself in the mélange of sounds. He is singing, improvising and jamming just for the proof that blues is not dead (e.g. "Bedstuy Parade & Funeral March"). The beat-plus-rhyme formula is not working here anymore (except perhaps for "Sunshine," "Close Edge"). Meanwhile we get a lot of complicated stuff to swallow.
Whether it appeals to us or not this music got structure, various dimensions and layers inviting to plunge in. Examples? Take the incredible "Modern Marvel," a tribute to Marvin Gaye, of which I'm convinced the master himself would be quite impressed. Following this marvelous marveling comes the blaxbloitation-toned "Live Is Real." The "Beggar" then recalls some kind of Bob Marleyish inspiration. Finally, we get the "Champion Requiem," a real outro, just to say "it's good to be back" and all and give some shout-outs to the big ones, the role models.
And so it seems like in many ways this album became one big dedication. Apart from that, "The New Danger" is divided in two parts, the fist one satisfying rock n' roll longings, the second one riding on the rather mellow side. But this is still only half the story. In between we find blues, nursery rhymes and a little blessing for lost souls.
You will argue that Mos Def is not the first to try out different music styles. Okay. Still, what is different and new on "The New Danger" is probably the way in which he's sliding from one to another easily while still keeping some kind of thread. In a way - and we can say that - like what Marvin did on "What's Going On". Admittedly, his voice is the lure. And if it wasn't for this attraction we would probably see things more down-to-earth. But then, even if he's playing around sometimes and just having a good time for himself - can we hold that against him?
No doubt, Black Dante is on his way to "make Mos Def a classic modern figure" ("Sunshine"), be it not as an emcee then all the more so as a singer slash musician. But who cares, really.
review: Denise
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