The Ecstatic - Mos Def

Universal acclaim - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28
  1. Half associative rhymes that clock in under two-and-a-half minutes, devoid of hooks but full of sounds you want to hear again, it's like a dream mixtape.
  2. It's always great to see one of our better artists achieving a return to form, but it's usually successful with leveled results. But on The Ecstatic, Mos Def is certainly back and he has released the best hip-hop album of the year, so far.
  3. May 19, 2011
    His fourth solo release, The Ecstatic (Downtown), reaffirms why hip-hop aficionados cared about him in the first place.
  4. Though his vigor falters toward the end, The Ecstatic remains by far his strongest, most deeply felt work in ages.
  5. It's taken a decade, but Def has finally produced a worthy follow-up to his beloved solo debut.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 50 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 17
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 17
  3. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. Dec 10, 2013
    This album was like a 'Welcome Back' party for Mos Def. He nailed it with his wide variety of beats. I can't stop singing 'Quiet Dog Bite Hard' as the fast paste and smooth beats took me away. Thank you for this. Thumbs up! Full Review »
  2. Mar 31, 2013
    this album is unbelievable. it shows how an album is supposed to be made. starting off stronge, and ending at its strongest. casa bey is easily the best song on the album. and the guests are also fantastic. everyone should listen Full Review »
  3. Apr 17, 2012
    This album deserves a 12 out of 10 if I were basing my score on the relativity to other rap albums over the past 5 years. It's been a long time since I've heard an album of this caliber, and I still can't think of a better rap album to come out since this album was released nearly 3 years ago. I still listen to this album regularly. Mos Def has always been a very talented rapper, and the strength of his albums has always been his lyrics. However, the production on this album is without question the best production since Black on Both Sides. The opening track "Supermagic" hits like a hammer. Mos samples guitars (and the chorus) from an old Turkish song, and the rest of the album follows the theme of using Middle Eastern instruments throughout this album. Most of the tracks have Middle Eastern influences regardless of who produces the track. Madlib produces 4 of the tracks on this album (Wahid, Pretty Dancer, Revelations, and the Slick Rick assisted Auditorium), and it's no surprise that these are 4 of the best tracks on the album. The greatness of Mos isn't limited to the Madlib tracks though. Mr. Flash produces "Worker's Comp" which is the perfect song for the times we are in. Mos simply raps about the high unemployment rate and the day to day munadane life of working a 9-5, living paycheck to paycheck to keep the lights on. The whole album is very down to earth, but uplifting at the same time. Mos has always been one of the most humble and honest rappers there is, and that makes this album very easy to relate to. More rap needs to be like this. "Priority" is one of the most spiritual songs on the album, as Mos outlines what our priorities should be in life. It's a very powerful song, partly because of the message, but also because of Mos' delivery. "Peace before everything/god before anything/love before anything/real before everything/home before anyplace". Simple maybe, but effective. Nothing is simple about the wordplay he follows that up with though. "Style and state radiate/love power slay the hate/truth killer flakey face/players say it to their face/ain't afraid to major straight/grace at the table straight/flow greatest like the greatest lakes/capes all greatest states/quiet water major waves". Damn. If anybody needed a reminder the Mos Def is one of the best lyricists of all time in hip-hop, this song (and album in general) is it. One thing I love about Mos is that he isn't concerned with being "the best rapper alive" or any of the other trivial titles that all other rappers are concerned with. Mos isn't afraid to take risks (as he proved on The New Danger) whether they pay off or not. One example of this working is on "No Hay Nada Mas". Mos speaks in Spanish for the entire song, and the tracks sounds much more like a love song that a rap song. It's amazing that over time I've grown to really like this song, even if I don't understand a damn thing. However, he does misfire on "Roses" which is easily the albums lowest point. It's a shame, because the entire album is good with the exception of this song, and it happens to be towards the very end of the album. Thankfully, this track is followed by "History" with reunites Mos with Kweli for a BlackStar reunion. Kweli and Slick Rick are the only two featured artists on the album (aside from Georgia Ann Muldrowe on Roses). In the end, this is Mos' best album since Black On Both Sides. It's his most pure "album" in my opinion, and I can't state how much I love the Middle Eastern influences that are present for the entire album. Full Review »