Mos Def - Black on Both Sides (1999), 6/10

Some of the coolest of delivery that remains unparalleled. There are countless memorable hooks, instrumentals, lyrics, and especially beats. The rhythms are expertly arranged and provide a masterclass in sampling, where this album truly makes its lasting mark on the hip-hop scene in conjunction with Mos Def’s hyper-cool rapping. The first side is close to flawless and absolutely essential listening as far as hip-hop, while the second hosts its strongest individual tracks "Habitat” and “Mathematics”. Of course, the features from Busta Rhymes, Talib Kweli, Vinia Mojica and Q Tip add quite a bit of value, and Mos uses their talents and styles perfectly within unique arrangements that elevate their singular styles. Unfortunately, I don't know that I've heard a bigger album-killer than "Rock n Roll", especially being at the center of a superbly consistent and successfully composed album. There are countless examples of pro-black songs done right all over the record, yet this track instead comes across as silly and misplaced among such a philosophically forward and dense, yet warm and approachable track list. This in combination with a few other questionable and clearly aged bars hold Black on Both Sides back from being perhaps one of the greatest hip-hop records of all time. Still, it is filled with greatly memorable beats and punchy lyrics, so powerful that it remains one of the best hip-hop albums of the nineties.