When I first heard the new leak “Auditorium” from The Ecstatic featuring the The Ruler Slick Rick and produced by Madlib the Bad Kid, it felt like Mos Def walked out of the session from Black Star’s “Thieves in the Night,” hopped into the Delorean, cranked that bitch to 88mph, blazed into 2009, hit the studio with Madlib and Rick, spit some eloquent b-boy shit, then went back to his Rawkus pad in Brooklyn in 1998. Great Scott!
Mos has always been one of my favorite MC’s. Black on Both Sides still gets burn one a quarterly basis in the Rocca Mobile. Hell, there’s even 3-4 great songs on Tru3 Magic. But that passion, eloquence, and maturity found on Mos’ work from the Rawkus has been MIA this decade in favor of meddling street-based rap built on tales of struggle and strife sprinkled with mush-mouthed politics. While it was never truly wack, it never gave you the permanent screwface either.
Mos’ opening verse on The Roots’ “The Rising Down” sounded like a return to form, or least a page from his marble notebook recovered from a Ge-ology/88 Keys session circa 1997. “Casa Bey” and “Quiet Dog” had me very intrigued for The Ecstatic as they combined the African riddims and feel-good sentiments that were misused on The New Danger. But nothing could prepare my ears for “Auditorium”
I don’t want to call Mos’ verse “grown man rap”–it’s “third eye lyricism” akin to Wu-Tang before U-God went Southern and Cappadonna dropped two album on Koch nobody noticed. Even that sounds nerdy, but it’s mesmerizing and focused, touching on the uncertain times we face today.
“The world is so dangerous, there’s no need for fighting
Suckers try to hide like the struggle won’t find them”