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by Mos Def
The Ecstatic by Mos Def
Released: Jun 2009
Label: Downtown Records
Mos Def has largely abandoned traditional song structure. Verse-chorus-bridge-coda? Forget about it. The raps here are rambling, stream-of-consciousness rants that appropriate the griot braggadocio of spiritual enlightenment before pivoting to the apocalyptic fury of political fear and loathing. Songs barely reach the two-minute mark, while the sound ranges from twisting Bollywood pomp to weepy Mediterranean psych. And, just when you think it's over, Dilla shows up on an unexpected Black Star reunion. The album is a rabbit hole, and its stab at hip-hop transcendentalism is as messy as it is beautiful.
Sam Chennault

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