Our Top 10 Mos Def Songs list looks at a rapper, singer, songwriter and producer. Mos Def sold over a million albums in his career. He was in two groups before he pursued a solo career. He was in the group Urban Thermo Dynamics with his siblings for a little while. He was also in the group Black Star with Talib Kweli. They released their eponymous album, which featured the singles “Definition” and “Respiration.” His hits include “Oh No,” “Ms. Fat Booty,” “Mathematics,” “Brown Sugar (Extra Sweet),” “Body Rock,” “Jam on It,” “Sex, Love & Money,” “A Brighter Day,” as well as other songs.
Dante Terrell Smith was born December 11, 1973. He got into the entertainment business early. He didn’t start as a hip-hop artist. He started his career as a child actor. He appeared in several TV shows, sitcoms, plays, and movies. In 1994, he got his start in hip-hop when he joined a rap group with his siblings. One thing led to another, and he was on his way to a solo career. He released Black on Both Sides in 1999. The album peaked at number one on the Rap charts, number three on the R&B and Hip-Hop charts and number 25 on the Billboard 200 charts. It features the singles “Ms. Fat Booty,” “Mathematics,” “Umi Says” and “Love.” The album sold over 500,000 copies.
The New Danger came out in 2004. It peaked at number one on the Rap charts, number two on the R&B and Hip-Hop charts and number five on the Billboard 200 charts. It features the singles “Sex, Love & Money,” “Close Edge,” “Life Is Real” and “The Easy Spell.” The album sold over 500,000 copies. True Magic was released in 2006. The album peaked at number 12 on the Rap albums, number 25 on the R&B and Hip-Hop albums and number 77 on the Billboard 200 charts. It features the singles “Crime & Medicine,” “Dollar Day,” “True Magic” and “Undeniable.” The album sold over 97,000 copies. The Ecstatic was released in 2009. The album peaked at number five on the R&B and Hip-Hop charts and nine on the Billboard 200 charts. It features the singles “Life in Marvelous Times,” “Quiet Dog Bite Hard,” “Casabey,” “Auditorium,” “Pretty Dancer” and “Worker’s Comp.”
Mos Def is a prolific rapper who focuses on political and social issues. He isn’t the type of rapper who is just concerned with drugs, power and money the way other hip-hop artists are. He wants his music to have a message. He has influenced several other hip-hop artists such as Lupe Fiasco, Kid Cudi and Kendrick Lamar. Our Top 10 Mos Def Songs list will feature his best songs.
# 10 – Body Rock ft. Q-Tip and Tash
The first song on our Top 10 Mos Def Songs list is “Body Rock” from the Lyricist Lounge, Vol. 1. The song has a hip-hop beat. The tribute song is about rapping. Mos Def is talking about his love of hip-hop. He acknowledges that there was a difference between East Coast and West Coast rappers. He wants to bridge the gap between the coasts. There aren’t too many rappers who want to end the beef between both sides. They insist on boasting about one being better than the other. Mos Def wanted to be different and it showed. You won’t learn anything because the song doesn’t teach you anything you didn’t already know about hip-hop music. You do get the chance to enjoy hearing their love for the genre.
The song may come off boastful as they are rapping about how they are better than other MCs in the business. They are self-confident about their talents. You would have to be confident to insist that you are better than other rappers in the business. Mos Def opens the song with his rhymes. He is laid back as spits his verse. Tash does the second verse. His verse isn’t that long, but he makes his point. Q-Tip does the third verse. He makes quite a statement with his verse. They switch things up for the rest of the song. They took a chance by singing the chorus. They don’t have a singer in the song the way other rappers do. They chose to sing themselves. They aren’t the worst singers in the world, but they should probably stick to rapping.
# 9 – Universal Magnetic
The next song on our Top 10 Mos Def Songs list is “Universal Magnetic” from the Soundbombing album. The song has hip-hop beat. The boastful song is about style and music. He talks about taking rap to a higher place with his rapping skills. He talks about how skilled he is on the microphone. He believes no one has skills the way he does. The song is the same type of song that other rappers record. They usually rap about being the best rapper in the business and he’s no different. He doesn’t brag about the things he has. All he does is let the listeners know that he is the best rapper on the microphone. He’s boastful without sounding too arrogant. Someone else might have sounded like he was bragging too much.
He sounds like a lyrical genius on the mic. He finds interesting ways to rhyme about things that other people wouldn’t have thought of rapping. His skills are slick and excellent. He sounds a little like Q-Tip when he raps. We’re not surprised that he sounds like Q-Tip when he has a similar style to him. Mos Def has a nasal flow on this track. His rhymes are good and his delivery also makes the lyrics sound better. You could almost forget that he may not be rapping about much because he kept the lyrics simplistic. The song has an old-school vibe to it. The beat is sick and it will stay in your head. This is what hip-hop is all about. He brought catchy beats and catchy lyrics to the table. You could easily forget this is one of his debut singles.
# 8 – Umi Says
The social song is from the Black on Both Sides album. The song has a hip-hop beat. The inspirational song is about racial injustice. He wants African Americans to be free of racial inequality. He wants the world to wake up and realize what is going on with African Americans. This is a timely song because racial injustice is going on in the world today. Mos Def wants you to live your life the way you want. He said that tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone. He wants you to do the best that you can with what you have. He wants African Americans to be free. The song has an important message about freedom. He wants African Americans to work together so we could all be free.
Mos Def wants to speak to the hearts of his listeners. He said he didn’t want to write down the lyrics. He wanted to speak from the heart. He set up the lyrics as if he were doing an improvisation. He rhymes as if he’s speaking to friend and not to listeners. It’s as if he’s pleading with the audience to hear what he’s saying. He wants everyone to hold the present close because tomorrow may never come. He wants us to appreciate what’s going on in the world. He stresses that time is important because if we don’t act now, we will regret it later. The chorus will remind you of a spiritual song. Mos Def sounds sincere as he talks to the listeners about appreciating life. He sings in the song and makes it sound more emotional. He sings the chorus of the track with heart and soul. He’s not the greatest singer in the world, but he does try his best to sing well. He would be better off not trying to hold notes in the tracks.
# 7 – Brown Sugar (Extra Sweet) Scott Storch Remix ft. Faith Evans
The enchanting song is from Brown Sugar Soundtrack. The song has a hip-hop beat. The loving song is about what a man would do for the woman he loves. He would do anything for his “brown sugar.” You don’t have to watch the movie to understand the meaning of the lyrics. If you love the woman in your life, you would do anything for her. Most women would love to hear the men they love reciting the lyrics to this song in their ears. It will make them feel special and loved. The theme may be similar to other songs, but he still managed to make the song creative. Mos Def usually covers social issues or his rhyming skills on the microphone. This track gives him a chance to do a love song. He didn’t sound soft doing it. He still managed to sound hardcore.
Mos Def recorded a couple of versions of this song. We chose the Scott Storch version of the song to be on our list. This version is a duet with Mos Def and Faith Evans. This song has an infectious beat. You will be up on the dance floor while it’s playing. The original version isn’t as bouncy as this one. The music is slower for that version of the song. This song is perfect to listen to while you are at a party or a club. You could also dance to it at a cookout. The melody is a little similar to Jagged Edge’s “Where the Party At.” The beat is slowed down a little, but it’s similar to Jagged Edge’s track. The remix gives the song new life. The original is a good version, but the remix has something extra. Mos Def and Faith Evans worked well together. They aren’t a likely pair to work together, but they pulled it off.
# 6 – The Close Edge
The intense song is from the album The New Danger. The song has a hip-hop beat. The real song is about the street life. He talks about people in the streets who are shooting each other and snitching on each other. He talks about men who are going after other people who don’t know what they are doing to them. He insists that his grind is different from anyone else’s. Mos Def is a poet because he turns these lyrics into poetry. He proved that he’s one of the best lyricists in the game. He is an underrated artist in the business and deserves his flowers before it’s too late. His lyrics are so hot that it’s like he’s spitting lava while he’s rapping.
The music is fire. The beat is so tight and was the perfect choice for this song. It helped Mos Def’s rhymes flow naturally. This sounds like genuine music. You can hear guitar riffs in the song that give the track a rock edge. The song uses the interpolation of Grandmaster Flash and the Funk and the Furious Five’s “The Message.” The sample sets the song off in a fantastic way. You can get lost listening to the beat of this song. We dare you to sit still while it’s playing.
# 5 – Sex, Love & Money
The next song our Top 10 Mos Def Songs list is “Sex, Love & Money” is from The New Danger album. The song has a hip-hop beat. The flirty song is about having sex, love and money. He talks about what’s going on in the rap industry. He explains how men in the rap business talk about sex, love and money. This is the type of song that rappers usually rhyme about on their albums so Mos Def didn’t bring anything new to the table. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In some instances, if it’s not broke, you don’t fix it. You stick with a formula that works and you will have a hit on your hands. Mos Def usually raps about things with more depth, but every now and then he records a fun song about having money and women.
“Sex, Love & Money” is the type of jam that you can listen to without thinking too much about the lyrics. You can have a good time and be entertained at the same time. He still tries to bring some depth to his lyrics even though it’s nothing you haven’t heard before from a rapper. He sounds like he’s having fun on the track and that’s what’s important. He wants to have fun with his songs. He proves he doesn’t have to take everything so seriously on his tracks. He is a lyrical assassin when it comes to rapping hardcore. Mos Def managed to have a flute and harp included in his song. You certainly wouldn’t expect to hear those instruments in his song. Mos Def always pushes the envelope and it pays off with his creative work.
# 4 – Ms. Fat Booty
The party song is from the album Black on Both Sides. The song has a hip-hop beat. The sexy jam is about a man who meets beautiful women in a club. One woman enchants him in particular. He lets her control him. In most rap songs, men are the ones controlling the situation. They don’t usually allow themselves to be dominated. Mos Def raps about how she controls him with her booty. Men will be able to relate to this song easier than women. The title may offend some listeners who feel he’s objectifying women. You will have to focus on the lyrics to see that he’s not doing that. He isn’t exploiting the woman. He allows her to dominate him.
The song features a sample from Aretha Franklin’s track “One Step Ahead.” Fans of Aretha Franklin and Mos Def may be surprised to hear her song on his track. You wouldn’t necessarily think of him using her track for his song. Speaking of the beat, the music is simple. The beat is not bogged down by a lot of music. The thumping drumbeat is the standout instrument on the track. The simple drumbeat makes the music sound similar to the Fugees’ “Killing Me Softly.” Mos Def proved that he is a master storyteller with this song. He keeps you hooked onto the story until he’s done. He knows how to hold your interest with his excellent rhyming skills. Mos Def is one of the only rappers who could get away with telling a story like this one.
# 3 – Mathematics
The important song is from the Black on Both Sides album. The track has a hip-hop sound. The meaningful song is about the racial differences between Caucasians and African Americans. The song talks about different social issues in the world. He wants everyone listening to add up the issues in the song and draw your own conclusion. He’s warning African Americans to do their math so they can avoid being a statistic. The song was recorded in the 90s, but the theme still works today. It’s important for African Americans to do what they can to avoid being statistics in this world. The lyrics are the type that never get old.
This is the type track where Mos Def is at home. He rhymes about things that make you think about the world and what’s going on around it. This song is very important and needed to be recorded. He was man enough to take care of that. This is the song African Americans never knew they needed, but they got it anyway. The track features several samples. Erykah Badu’s “On and On,” James Brown’s “Funky Drummer” and The Fatback Band’s “Baby I’m – a Want You” are some of the samples on this song. It could have suffered from too many samples, but the tracks work for this song.
# 2 – Jam On It
The bouncy song is from the album Underground Airplay Version 1.0. The track has a hip-hop beat. The party track is about Mos Def rapping and how he’s better than anyone else. He thinks the crowd will love him when they hear his rhymes. This seems to be a tribute to old school rappers who paved the way for him to become a lyricist. This isn’t something that you can relate to unless you have aspirations of being a rapper. You can sit back and enjoy listening to master at work. He covers quite a few topics while he talks about his rapping skills. He proved that he could rap about anything and still sound deep. He paid respect to the people who paved the way for him.
Mos Def’s lyrics sound deep even when he’s boasting about his rapping skills. He’s right about his skills so he may as well talk about how good he is on the microphone. The track has an old school sound. It sounds like something from the 80s and it will make people feel nostalgic. It will get you on the dance floor without hesitation. There’s no way to sit still while listening to this party jam. He showcases what an amazing lyricist he is with this track. He tried to create a baller’s anthem with this track and it worked. Don’t be too surprised if you find yourself wanting to break dance to this song.
# 1 – Oh No ft. Pharoah Monch and Nate Dogg
The number one song on our list is “Oh No” from the Lyricist Lounge 2 album. The song has a hip-hop beat. The reflective song is about their journey to move up on the rap chain. They talk about the rappers before them and how they want to be successful as well. They want the fans to say their names. The trio is determined to be known lyricists in the rap game. With a track like this one, we’re not surprised they want to be lyricists. They want the world to take notice of them. They let their naysayers know that they are smarter and want to be on top no matter what.
Mos Def, Pharoah Monch and Nate Dogg’s rhymes are the truth. They spit fabulous rhymes. They are all lyrical geniuses. If you weren’t a fan of their music, you will definitely change your mind after listening to this jam. They don’t hold back while they are rapping. Nate Dogg took a chance and decided to sing the chorus. He did a passable job on the song. He won’t give singers a run for their money, but he doesn’t embarrass himself while he’s singing. He makes you want to sing along with him. This song is great to listen to at a kickback party. You should also listen to it if you are trying to get into the rap game. This song has excellent flow and will teach you a lot about rapping with a smooth flow.
Top 10 Mos Def Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
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