Song of the Day 6/11/09: Mos Def - Auditorium
There's no obvious coherent praise to be heaped upon "Auditorium," Mos Def and Slick Rick's latest track - it's more like a grab bag of disconnected but interesting moments that build to make a fresh hip hop song. I dig the beat, real subdued and vaguely Middle Eastern in instrumentation, and while that approach isn't mindblowing or innovative, it steps far enough away from typical hip hop to be engaging (especially with hiccups of silence at the ends of most verses). The rhymes are slick, especially the commentary on embedded distrust that comes with the territory of Iraqi occupation ("Lookin' at me curious, a young Iraqi kid / carrying laundry, what's wrong G, hungry? / no, give me my oil, get the fuck out my country"). And I dig the overall approach, which is damn near shy, a word you never get to apply to hip hop. You'll get "humble" from some MCs, yeah, but shy is almost unheard of - and it works.
- Phillip Taylor-Parker
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