The New Danger, Mos Def, 2004
The New Danger was only Mos Def's second solo album. There wasn't a warm reception waiting for this album. Check out the NY Times review. Not that I would recommend that you let a newspaper determine who you listen to, but it is representative of how many people viewed this album. I think it is another case showing how the public wants artists to create, but they don't want artists to explore and grow the way artists naturally do. The New Danger showed a lot of growth and exploration from Mos Def. Rather than judging Mos Def for it, why not try to enjoy it for what its worth? It's one reason why I don't give a ranking to albums. Music is not a product that is only intended for consumption. It is a part of our culture, history and I'm glad that artists challenge us. Mos Def recently released a video for a new song called World Premiere and he's working on a new album. After he dropped The Estatic, I can't wait to see what he puts out this time around.
[audio:http://ra-nyc.com/boywithstick/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/11-The-Panties.mp3|titles=11 The Panties]
It feels like I have been listening to this album for 20 years, but it only came out in 2004. The album has blues, rock, metal, hip hop and r&b scattered throughout the album. I actually made a painting based on the photo shoot inside the album cover that shows Mos Def in black face. I started the painting just after I saw Mos Def perform with Black Jack Johnson at First Avenue in Minneapolis. He performed a lot of The New Danger and I was amazed because it was more like watching a band improvise than watching a rehearsed hip hop stage show. The other musicians were amazing and the whole set was capped off by a 5 minute drum solo that faded to silence............
I'm not going to explain how I know about Mos Def because most people know about him. I think an old, quick partial list of guest appearances will show why Mos Def has been so respected since he gained recognition. When everyone in the hip hop industry wants to work with an artist, there is a reason why. He has a prolific list of guest appearances and it is something that the people at the NY Times do not understand.
Get Up Remix (Amel Larrieux), Reminisce (Bilal), The Question (Common), Travelin' Man (DJ Honda), Two Words (Kanye West), Wanna B Where U R (Thisizzaluvsong) Mos Def & Floetry on the Barbershop 2 Soundtrack, Brown Sugar Faith Evans/Mos Def, Rising Down (The Roots), Kalifornia (Biker Boyz Soundtrack), Universal Magnetic Live (Dave Chappelle's Block Party), Bin Laden (Immortal Technique), What's That? (Que Eso?) (Tony Touch), Rock Rock Y'all (A Tribe Called Quest), Oh No (Rawkus Presents), Fortified Live/Free Style/If You Can Huh../Universal Magnetic (Soundbombing), B-Boy Document 99/Next universe (Soundbombing Vol. 2), Freak Daddy (Soundbombing Vol. 3)
This album is at times like a jam session and other times it is like a hip hop album. There is a heavy dose of reality to his lyrics, but the music is amazingly diverse. As I said before, the music changes from R&B to metal, but they are all Mos Def. He has an ability to put his spin on the music regardless of the genre and make it his own. Mos has been successful singing (Umi Says) and he experiments with singing on this album, but not too much.
Mos worked with some well known producers and some producers that I didn't know of before this album. Raphael Saadiq, Psycho Les (The Beatnuts), Easy Mo Bee, Kanye West, Minnesota and 88 Keys were several of the producers on the album. They were in addition to Black Jack Johnson, which included Dr. Know/guitar (Bad Brains), Bernie Worrell/keyboards (Parliament-Funkadelick and Talking Heads), Doug Wimbish/bass (Living Colour) and Will Calhoun/drummer (Living Colour). Overall, there's a lot of musical talent on one album.
The Boogie Man Song, Freaky Black Greetings, Ghetto Rock, Zimzallabim, The Rape Over, Blue Black Jack, Bedstuy Parade & Funeral March, Sex, Love & Money, Sunshine, Close Edge, The Panties, Grown Man Business (Fresh Vintage Bottles), Modern Marvel, The Easy Spell, Champion Requiem.