Mos Def The New Danger

It’s been five years since the mighty Mos Def’s undisputed classic Black On Both Sides was released. Evidently much has changed in the interim. Aside from cultivating a very respectable career as an actor, the universal magnetic b-boys’ music on the evidence of this release has undergone a complete overhaul in terms of content and structure. Instead of the tautly executed conceptual tour de forces, The New Danger is typified by loose structure and improvisation. This isn’t inherently a bad thing, but for an artist as abundantly talented as Mos Def, it produces mixed results. The musical direction of the album is largely dictated by Black Jack Johnson, the rock project Mos Def had been working on since the heady days of Rawkus Records. Consequently much of the record focuses more on blues, jazz and Marvin Gaye-inspired soul, giving Mos plenty of room to get his Gil Scott Heron on, crooning over several of the offerings supplied by a variety of producers. It’s obvious that Mos Def is trying to produce his own version of a musical history. However, within this context straight-ahead hip-hop selections such as the helium-soul powered "Sunshine” and the menacing "Close Edge” don’t really seem to fit, despite their worthiness, something that may be due to the head-scratching sequencing. While an admirable outing with exceptional moments that actually grows on you, The New Danger is ultimately an unfocused effort from an immeasurably talented artist. (Geffen)