Wassup Rockers

Mos Def @ BAM

Last night I went to see Mos Def. This was utterly ridiculous as I’ve NEVER listened to Mos Def before, and I am not going to pretend that I know much about hip-hop at all. It wasn’t my idea but it was a free ticket, so how could I say no? Either way, this review will be in an outsider’s point of view more than anything.

My token hip-hop friend told me Mos Def is full of shit except for his stuff with Black Star. At work, however, my supervisors told me Mos Def is brilliant and a true artist. I could see both sides, but really, I was sorta… bored with the show. I feel really bad saying that, but it wasn’t as interesting as I’d hoped.

Now, let’s discuss the reasons I didn’t care much for Mos Def:

(1) It was really loud. It pained me. The friend with whom I saw the show had to give me her earplugs. I admit I’m a pussy about how loud it was because I’ve gone to too many damn shows and damaged my hearing. It was a psychological thing, too. It saddened me to realize how bad my hearing has become.

(2) I was really far away and it was very easy to get distracted. I was also really tired and so I felt really antsy about watching the show for a sustained period of time. I just wanted to go home. Sometimes it really upsets me that I have such a short attention span.
(3) Um, I didn’t care for the music. This is a loaded thing to say, because in one level, I really did love the music. Like he was backed by a real band and the brass section was seriously off the hook. And the pianist, he was so good! His hands just flowed all over the keys, it was beautiful. It almost made me want to try and get piano lessons again. Haha.

At the same time, Mos Def himself was a big fat “eh.” I didn’t care for his rhymes–I’m not a lyrics person in the first place, which may be why I’m not big into hip-hop. I actually couldn’t hear too well anyway, because of the earplugs. And it’s like, why did every song have to have such a long ass outro? Especially when it was the band just playing the same small bit over and over and over, instead of doing an outro in style and going all craaayzeee? The one song that I liked, and the song that made everyone go apeshit, it was really good until he dragged the ending FOREVER. That’s just obnoxious!

Anyway, I’m not really into his brand of music, I wouldn’t volunteer to listen to that on any given day.

(4) More on Mos Def as a performer: I don’t know, there was something about his stage presence that irked me. It’s like he thinks he’s a fucking rock star. Actually, that’s not accurate. Cos it makes it sound like he’s a Mariah Carey type, where it’s undeniable that he’s a fucking DIVA. It’s not like that, it’s more like, “Yes, I’m an artist. I deserve all this applause and glory because I make beautiful music.” Not only that, I get the feeling he knows he’s cute. Well let me tell you one thing, having a shaved head and just a beard ain’t exactly the cutest you’ve looked. I may have had a hard time seeing but I could see that much.

About the opener, K’naan, I’d never ever even heard of him but I really dug him. I mean, I don’t know if he’s supposed to be good or anything, but he seemed like a chill dude, all about poetry and positivity. He played the djembe and I liked the rhythms, they were more attention-grabbing than Mos Def’s drum parts. There was something very refreshing about his delivery, like you could tell K’naan and his bandmates practiced a lot, but it still felt raw.

Another thing, Mos Def’s set wasn’t completely shit, he totally covered “I Put a Spell on You” and the horns were so so good on that. All sinister but sexy and shit. And someone requested “Happy Birthday,” so uh, he sorta sang most of it and left off the last line. I liked it better when he sang than when he rapped.

One last thing, this was my first time to the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The building is absolutely divine. If I lived in the neighborhood I would go eat dinner there like every weekend, since they have a really nice dining area and bar. But seriously, the theater was gorgeous. I felt like a queen.

Bonus: Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – I Put a Spell on You … cos I don’t have any Mos Def in my computer.


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