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Black On Both Sides

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01
Fear Not Of Man
4:29
$0.49
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02
Hip Hop
3:16
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03
Love
4:23
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04
Ms. Fat Booty
3:44
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05
Speed Law
4:16
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06
Do It Now
3:50
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07
Got
3:28
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08
UMI Says
5:05
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09
New World Water
3:12
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10
Rock N Roll
5:03
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11
Know That
4:04
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12
Climb
4:02
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13
Brooklyn
5:10
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14
Habitat
4:39
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15
Mr. Nigga
5:13
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16
Mathematics
4:06
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17
May-December
3:29
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Album Information
EXPLICIT // EDITOR'S PICK

Total Tracks: 17   Total Length: 71:29

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Wondering Sound

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Nate Patrin

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Nate Patrin’s writing has appeared in several far-flung corners of music critic circles, ranging from Pitchfork to SPIN to the Seattle Weekly and the Minneapoli...more »

11.16.10
Mos's shot at claiming a wider diaspora than anyone else in hip-hop
2002 | Label: Rawkus Entertainment

If 1998's Mos Def and Talib Kweli are Black Star was the album that proved Mos Def's bonafides as a conscious-rap firebrand, then his solo debut the following year, Black on Both Sides, was his shot at claiming a wider diaspora than anyone else in hip-hop, mainstream or underground. Goggling over a voluptuous honey ("Ms. Fat Booty") with the same authoritative flow that he dissects day-to-day racism ("Mr. Nigga"); crafting a track, "Rock N Roll,"… read more »

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They Say All Music Guide

Mos Def’s partnership with Talib Kweli produced one of the most important hip-hop albums of the late ’90s, 1997′s brilliant Black Star. Consciously designed as a return to rap’s musical foundations and a manifesto for reclaiming the art form from gangsta/playa domination, it succeeded mightily on both counts, raising expectations sky-high for Mos Def’s solo debut. He met them all with Black on Both Sides, a record every bit as dazzling and visionary as Black Star. Black on Both Sides strives to not only refine but expand the scope of Mos Def’s talents, turning the solo spotlight on his intricate wordplay and nimble rhythmic skills — but also his increasing eclecticism. The main reference points are pretty much the same — old-school rap, which allows for a sense of playfulness as well as history, and the Native Tongues posse’s fascination with jazz, both for its sophistication and cultural heritage. But they’re supported by a rich depth that comes from forays into reggae (as well as its aura of spiritual conscience), pop, soul, funk, and even hardcore punk (that on the album’s centerpiece, “Rock n Roll,” a dissection of white America’s history of appropriating black musical innovations). In keeping with his goal of restoring hip-hop’s sociopolitical consciousness, Def’s lyrics are as intelligent and thoughtfully crafted as one would expect, but he doesn’t stop there — he sings quite passably on several tracks, plays live instruments on others (including bass, drums, congas, vibraphone, and keyboards), and even collaborates on a string arrangement. In short, Black on Both Sides is a tour de force by an artist out to prove he can do it all. Its ambition and execution rank it as one of the best albums of 1999, and it consolidates Mos Def’s position as one of hip-hop’s brightest hopes entering the 21st century. – Steve Huey

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