This, along with DOOM's Born Like This
, is one of the best hip-hop albums of the year so far, it could even be better than the aforementioned - I recently watched a video interview with Mos Def, where he discusses DOOM and his deep respect for him ("I'd bet a million dollars on DOOM against Lil Wayne"). These two rappers, in my opinion, are two of the most important and impressive working today, and tend to work with the right producers and collaborators with no doubt.
Mos spans a range of styles, thanks to production from his buddies including Madlib, Mr Flash (Ed Banger), and the late J Dilla (legend), and excellent appearances from Slick Rick and Talib Kweli. This album flows as well as Black on Both Sides
, but overall is a beastier, more soulful effort, which really is exhilarating to listen to.
A lot of people might not agree, but this proves how cool Mos Def can keep, he really is keeping a consistently solid image which can't really be matched by anyone out there, flying solo like himself. I love the samples used throughout, especially the jazz tendencies and occasional Eastern skits. Even the most overproduced (by Mr Flash) track 'Life in Marvelous Times' manages to keep it together...but at least it's better than Kanye West or any R'n'B slaughter - in other words, its appeal doesn't deteriorate after the first listen. This album is sweet, and will stay so for quite a while, in my eyes. This is decent hip-hop and should not be ignored.