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Mos Def 

The Ecstatic (Downtown Records)

Kanye, Common, Outkast and on and on, they all did it: fucked up, went way out with an album and didn't recover (at least not fully). Mos Def came close with his last release, The New Danger, experimenting with rock (Common) and making things needlessly busy (West). But unlike Common and Kanye, Mos Def has returned to form. The Ecstatic opens with the bold, off-balance "Supermagic," but it really gets going with the rattling-snare-and-vibes-led "Twilite Speedball." It's full-on from there, picking up his Black Star cohort Talib Kweli, a Slick Rick-sounding rapper named The Ruler and keeping it real simple en route to brilliance.

Supermagic - Mos Def
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