Senseis Are Standing By

I wasn’t as enamoured with The Ecstatic as everyone else appeared to be. First off, the mix sounded really strange to me, the same kind of strange that the Q-Tip album sounded. It had sloppy production on the beats end with flat sonics and not much frequency range, so the vocals sat on top of the music in an alien way. And none of the songs seemed very thoroughly explored.

On the other hand, the new track “24-Hour Karate School” renews my faith in the Mighty Mos for still retaining the capacity to make good music. Some critics have complained that he doesn’t spit more than a few bars at a time here, but that’s what makes it for me. Clocking it at just over two minutes, it’s a high-concept mash-up of rap meets 24-hour fitness center meets dojo that explores a laughable fantasy in song form. It’s endearing in a harmless hair-brained stoner-comedy way. And since it has no context, we have no expectations that Mos has to meet. We just get to listen to a little ditty that just so happens to have much better production (thanks to the great Camp Lo collaborator Ski) and a vocal mix that actually sits with the music.

I honestly didn’t find much in a first listen to The Ecstatic to encourage more, but I might give it another shot because of this effort. Maybe I missed something. I doubt it. We’ll see. Nevertheless, while this song is of no consequence, I’d rather have one of these every couple of months than albums of passable material every other year. Because this is fun times for real.

Chop-chop body work…

Mos Def – 24-Hour Karate School


  1. Posted February 18, 2010 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Repeat after me:
    “I do hereby swear to lead off every mix I make this year with ’24-Hour Karate School.’
    Yes, sensei!

  2. TB
    Posted March 5, 2010 at 9:51 am | Permalink


    I bought all the hype and the record and I’ve been regretting it ever since. The vocals have nothing to do with the beats, both are a little bit interesting (a little bit) but together they contribute nothing to each other. It really is a dark day for hip-hop when Madlib’s little brother is making beats and I wish that Mos Def would leave them well enough alone.

    Incidentally, that was the last record I bought at the local record shop before it went under, and it colored the whole experience for me: shitty shop, shitty record, shitty industry pedaling me shit.

    As for karate school — horaay for a lack of pretension, but does it make me a total geezer that this ends up making me want to listen to Kool and the gang’s “who’s gonna take the weight?” off of the sex machine record?

    (To be perfectly obvious: go listen to “who’s gonna take the weight?” off of “live at the sex machine” the whole way through and try to figure out why it took until for 93 for that beat to get made.

    Lastly — props to ski-beatz, and I’m out.


  3. TB
    Posted March 5, 2010 at 10:28 am | Permalink


    MINT copy of “The Ecstatic” on 2LP, still in shrink-wrap, barely played.

    Mos Def’s return to form! Own a piece of history.

    $12, located in N.hampton MA.

  4. Posted March 6, 2010 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Hilarious. But you know you gotta sample that joint on the internet before you go for the vinyl.

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