Tag Archives: Mos Def


Mos Def – Umi Says


Mos Def rockin with the Robert Glasper Experiment

Okayplayer had a pretty solid post about Mos Def’s performance at Carnegie Hall the other night.  Apparently, post-show, he went out and performed with the Robert Glasper Experiment

In another touching tribute, they fully focused on a tribute to Dilla, performing Slum VIllage’s Fantastic and Falling in Love.  They also apparently did a little De La tribute, performing Stakes is High.

The post has an impassioned description of the performance, and I won’t do it the injustice of reposting it here.  So just quickly head over to Okayplayer and take a read.

Mos killed the show, and from what I hear, he was so into the band itself that he actually had to leave the stage from time to time just to give them some space.

Hopefully this video stays up for a while, but it’s pretty interesting. The camera’s way more focused on the band itself, with Mos just kind of flitting in and out of the screen.

[Source: Okayplayer]


Kanye vs. Mos Def – Freestyle showdown

Youtube has served some fresh battles in the past, and I just wanted to take a quick chance to present this Kanye/Mos friendly freestyle backstage.

Let us know who you think won.

Part 1

Part 2


Mos Def – Travellin’ Man


Mos Def freestyle from the early 90’s

The Meaning of Dope is a pretty solid website. They obviously have been into hip hop for a long, long time and are extremely knowledgeable about the subject. Some of their obscure trivia knowledge may even rival our own. I think the best and worst part about the site is it’s emphasis on videos. Obviously we were at 4080 love ourselves some Youtube links, but these guys have gone a step further. They’ve got their own flash player going and have some of the sickest videos around.

Unfortunately, they haven’t seen fit to allow embedding. While we could just jack the video and display it for you, that just wouldn’t be right. So you’ll have to follow this link to see a very young Mos Def freestyling at CKLN radio in Toronto back in the early 1990’s.

The footage comes from a documentary called “Make some Noise”. It’s from 1995 and is a small doc on underground hip hop in Toronto. It’s nearly impossible to find these days. The closest I’ve been able to find is a copy at the York University library that may or may not exist. So if any of you can find a copy, I’d be forever in your debt.


The Meaning of Dope really just raised itself a few dozen points in my book. They’ve now enabled embedding, so check out the dope video here:


Mos Def on Real Time with Bill Maher

We at 4080 Records have professed our admiration for Mos Def in the past, but my respect for the Brooklyn actor/mc took a serious dip after watching him on Real Time with Bill Maher. Mos comes across as ignorant and paranoid, drawing ridiculous comparisons between American law enforcement and al-Qaeda and rejecting bin Laden’s involvement in 9/11.

Although Mos’ wit and intelligence lend humour to the interview’s opening note…

Maher: You have to admit that there are people who do want to kill Americans.

Mos Def: Yeah, some of them are called the police.

… the interview quickly descends into ludicrous conspiracy theory and baseless accusation:

Maher: But you don’t think bin Laden knocked down the World Trade Centre?

Mos Def: Absolutely not!

Maher: C’mon.

Mos Def: I don’t. I don’t!

Maher: That’s where you lose me. And I’m so on your side.

Mos Def: You go to any barbershop: I am so not alone. I am so not alone.  

Maher: That doesn’t mean you’re right.

Mos Def: That don’t mean that it’s not valid, neither.

Actually, it does Mos. Just because people are willing to discuss them in barbershops, at work or in church doesn’t make 9/11 conspiracy theories valid. It makes them popular.

Fortunately for our boy, professor Cornel West is on hand to bring a modicum of reason to the proceedings at about the 2:23 mark.

Overall, while I agree with much of what Mos has to say (his thoughts on the root causes of terrorism at around 4:45, for example), I find it difficult respecting anyone who seriously believes the 9/11 attacks were a hoax, or an inside job, or whatever, or that we never landed on the moon:

Mos Def: I don’t believe these motherfuckers been to the moon, neither, but that’s just me. 

Cool Music

That’s Professor Def to you

I managed to catch Mos Def playing in Ann Arbor the other night. His show was on MLK Day and was dedicated to the memory of J Dilla, the slain Detroit producer.

I’ve got to say it was a really interesting style of show. For those of you who’ve ever been to the Hill Auditorium at the University of Michigan, you know it’s not exactly the traditional hip hop spot. Plush, upholstered, assigned seating is not the way I normally catch these shows, but it did lend a kind of legitimacy to Mos’ performance. Middle aged men in blazers and turtlenecks were sitting next to 16 year old hoodlums in hats and hoodies, and yet there was no sign of tension. That’s the real magic of Mos. He can manage to bring together one of the most diverse groups I’ve ever seen at a show, and unite them all.

Mos, debuting a band he called “Watermelon”, was unbelievable. It was originally billed as Mos Def and the Mos Def Big Band, but apparently not all of the Big Band came along. Instead, this is yet another of Mos’ side projects (Similar to Black Jack Johnson, the band he used on The New Danger). They were phenomenal as a live band. All of them were very talented musicians, and really made art out of playing J Dilla beats live. Mos, of course, was impeccable. The whole show had a very jazzy air to it, and it seemed that half of the time Mos was just doing whatever he felt like, improving a little to the beats.

Obviously the crowd was going crazy when Mos finally did Ms Fat Booty, but I think that the people were even more impressed and surprised when they heard Mos covering other songs. It was not at all what I expected, to hear this live jazzy beat and hear Mos cover Pharcyde or Eric B & Rakim. But he did a fantastic job, of course.

Still, the biggest surprise must have come at the end of the show. The crowd was on their feet, swaying, dancing, and completely wrapped up in the music. Enough yelling and cheering managed to get Mos and the band back out for an incredibly high-energy encore, which was just amazing. The music stopped. An official from the University walked on stage. He began his speech simply enough, talking about how great it was to see everyone coming out to honour Dr. King. How great the performance was. How great the whole day had been. He smiled, this incredibly large smile. As if he knew he was about to do something great. We all knew an award was coming, but I don’t think anyone expected it to be this. He took a deep breath, and announced that they were giving Mos Def an honorary visiting professorship! That’s right. That’s Professor Def to you!