Words by Jesse H.
“…Lookin’ like he on the cover of Mad magazine”
I hope the rest of you caught Mos Def’s most recent spot on “Real Time With Bill Maher” in its entirety. What a performance and certainly less contentious than his last time on the show. I’ve never seen any panelist rally crowd support as quickly as Black Dante. He was brilliant, absolutely hilarious, perpetually on point and dispensing wisdom like Pez. He astoundingly trumped Bill Maher on the comedic tip and destroyed condescending-arse Christopher Hitchens on the political one. This coming after his immensely entertaining online clip in defense of MF Doom? Hell, I’ll easily take both those on loop over adjusting to his grating nasal voice on 16 Blocks.
I remember in Block Party how Chappelle mentioned how funny Mos Def was in day-to-day life. But to finally see an artist as reclusive as him (when is the last time you read an interview with him? If you can think of one, was he talking about rap?) finally give a public display of that side of his personality was something special.
Hopefully, he focuses and translates that sparkling personality, wit and knowledge and gives us something better than True Magic in June, the expected month of release for his new album The Ecstatic. He’s got too much musical talent to not give us deserving fans what we know he’s capable of.
Quick Mos Def story: On a return trip to New York, I flew home and found myself at the Times Square subway station at about 3 in the morning. Tired, hauling a huge duffel and walking my broke ass to catch an empty train, I spotted a dude wheeling a bike around who looked exactly like Mos. Just us two in the hallway, so I just had to ask him. Dude offers me this smile and responds in a clearly fake Spanish voice: “No, my name is such-and-such random fake Spanish sounding name.” We kicked it for a bit as I tried to get him to admit he was clowning, but he refused to drop the act, smiling the whole time like he was enjoying the joke.
I’m still convinced it was Mos. Maybe not, but as evidenced by his “Real Time” appearance, he’s so off-the-cuff funny and indulgent in spontaneity that I can just picture him being like “Oh sh*t, its 3 a.m. I feel like riding my bike round New York. F*ck it.”