Black on Both Sides

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap; Lead Performer: Mos Def; Producer (group): Priority

Mos Def brags that he makes the ”treacherous look effortless” on ”Know That,” and his solo debut is a tightrope walk across diverse hip-hop styles. He even throws in hardcore punk and a verse of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ ”Under The Bridge.” Merging old-school bravado with new-school poetics, the Brooklyn legend spouts incisive Afrocentric reality that takes all sides into account. A-

Originally posted November 5 1999 — 12:00 AM EST

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