Mos Def - Casa Bey
As far as I’m concerned, anybody who spends time in Brazil is bound to become enchanted with the South American nation’s distinctive, boundlessly innovative music scene. Hip-hop veteran Mos Def is no exception. Introduced to Rio de Janeiro group Black Banda Rio through local rap heavyweight MV Bill (who accompanied him on a journey through the city’s slums in an ‘06 4Play documentary), he fell head-over-heels for their inventive blend of funk, soul, jazz, and local rhythms. Now, the ensemble’s Casa Forte, tweaked by producers Dante Smith and DJ Preservation, has become the backbone of his latest single. Casa Bey is as unconventional as you’d expect, but it’s also very familiar—Mos Def’s bouncy, sung-rapped vocals blend beautifully with the genre-bending instrumental, and the end result sounds like funky old-school hip-hop shot into space and beamed back into your earbuds “...from a distant star.” If the rest of The Ecstatic (due out June 9th) is this exuberant and creative, the LP is sure to live up to its name and leave open-minded listeners everywhere enraptured.