The year was 1998 and I was home on break from design school in Atlanta Georgia, I remember not having cable in my dorm so I couldn’t watch any music videos until I went home to visit. So I sat in front of the t.v. catching up on every Hip-Hop video I missed in a few months. Then a video comes on with a Japanese guy name DJ Honda and this cool charismatic looking dude who goes by Mos Def and he begins to sing this hook ” memories don’t live like people do, they always remember you whether things are good or bad, I’m a traveling man.” That was the year I was introduced to one of the illest emcees to date. So next day I went to “Record Express” and looked all over the “Rap” section for DJ Honda but I couldn’t find it. I was so disappointed and asked the women who works there ” do you have a song called traveling man?” Her response was no but we do have an album called Black Starr and the guy who’s featured in traveling man is on that album. [editors not: I’m so glad that lady knew her s**t thank you] So I pick up the cassette tape look at the songs on the back and I didn’t recognize any of them, so I took a gamble I purchased it without even hearing one song off the album. I never even heard of Talib Kweli. I get home and push in the tape turn up the volume and the rest is history, to my surprise it was one of the best Hip-hop albums I’ve heard since the 95-96 era. It was a classic, and so began my “Back Packer” era (pause).
Mos Def and Talib kweli shared perfect synergy, you know when you get group artist sometimes one of the members of that crew or duo is a little weaker than the other rapper(s) but in Black Starrs case both artist were well versed, lyrical and powerful emcees spitting positive words that made you think. Yeah I was hooked and became a fan of both of them. Mos Def became the poster boy for what is deemed as “underground” Hip-Hop showing great potential to carry on the torch.
Talib Kweli went on to drop his classic solo album “The Train Of Thought,” and as I anticipated one of the best albums ever, Mos Def drops Black On Both Sides. “Umi says” becomes one of my favorite all time songs and the rest of the album is nothing less than a classic. Mos did drop some albums later on through out the years but nothing close to his previous work. So with that said we here at Life Of Kings like to celebrate legends while there here walking amongst us on earth. We love Sharing our gratitude towards great artistry and mastery of rhyming. So I compiled a mix of Mos Def through out the years. From his early work on Lyricist Lounge to his latest “Ecstatic”. Enjoy LOK.
Press Play and enjoy. [ Right click here to download]