The Ecstatic Downtown ****
Mos Def’s last album was the hugely disappointing True Magic(2007).
On that contractual obligation, the rapper-turned-actor just didn’t have his eye on the ball, and the album lacked hooks, razzmatazz and tunes. Happy to report, on The Ecstaticit doesn’t take him long to make amends. Opening track Supermagicwafts in on a cloud of swirling psychedelic vapours (courtesy of producer Oh No), before the rapper blasts off with the kind of wordplay we haven’t heard from him in ages. In fact, we probably haven’t heard Mos this fired up since 1999’s
Black on Both Sides– the rapper is obviously engaged with his material. Aside from an A-list of interesting producers (including Madlib, Mr Flash and Preservation) throwing down smoking beats, Mos Def himself is also laying down the sort of verses and lyrical palaver (see Life in Marvelous Timesfor more) that made his rep in the first place. www.myspace.com/mosdef
Download tracks:Life in Marvelous Times, Supermagic