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Volume 72, Issue 106, Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Life & Arts

Mos Def fails to weave his ‘Magic'

First incarnation of album satisfies but doesn't amaze

The Daily Cougar

The diverse talent that Mos Def possess has definitely made him special, but it has led to Mos not focusing entirely on music. True Magic is Mos' return to the music world after a few years off since his previous album, The New Danger. While this quirky album is a good listen, fans shouldn't rush to own it. 

Listeners will immediately notice the difference in this album compared to previous efforts. It was released in a clear case without liner notes or eany artwork. This is odd and disappointing, but the album was released this way because it is scheduled for a re-release in the spring. 

The first song on Magic is the title track, which starts everything off right. Mos explains, "I got the will and the skill that the building can't kill." The energy is sustained on the up-tempo "Undeniable," which received a Grammy nomination this year. That's a bit of a surprise since the song received almost no publicity or promotion.

"Crime & Medicine" is a song that borrows from the Wu-Tang Clan's vault. The RZA's 1995 song "Liquid Swords" from his acclaimed debut album of the same name is reworked into a newer version by Mos. The same RZA-produced track is used, but with new lyrics from Mos. The song is one of the album's better tracks, and the Wu should be proud.

"Dollar Day" is the controversial song that Mos Def released in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Reusing the beat from Juvenile's 2004 hit "Nolia Clap," this song, which was originally titled "Katrina Clap," features the emcee venting. Like always, Mos doesn't shy away from the raw truth: "It's dollar day in New Orleans / It's water everywhere and people are dead in the streets." 

Mos also questions why famous humanitarians such as Bono of U2 were absent during the aftermath of the disaster: "It's enough to make you holler out, like ‘where is Sir Bono and his famous friends now?'

/ Don't get it twisted: I dig U2 / But if you're not about helping out / … Who care bout rock 'n' roll when babies can't eat food?" 

Mos' return is a good listen, but fans might want to wait until the album is re-released in the spring with complete packaging.

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