I’ve been listening to Mos Def’s 1999 album, Black On Both Sides, a lot lately. It’s a great album, powerfully written and performed, it sounds like it could have recorded and released yesterday as opposed to seventeen years ago.
And that’s a problem.
The same problems, the same issues are still around, and chances are, if Mos had recorded the album in 1989, he’d still be singing about the same shit that plagues the black community and the poor of America.
Shit never changes and because of this, our country is in a cultural and creative malaise, and this ennui is crushing, constantly pushing us backward in time, or more accurately, keeping us in one place, our wheels spinning and burning rubber.
Anyway, along with Black On Both Sides, I’ve also been listening to A Tribe Called Quest’s first album in twenty years, We Got It From Here, Thank You For Your Service. It’s a great album and probably my favorite hip-hop record of 2016. Here’s ATCQ performing on Saturday Night Live this past weekend.