MOS DEF - THE MIGHTY: This piece is a little different from the others I’ve created in that it features depictions of individuals who, in the traditional sense, are not specifically HipHop related. But then again, Mos Def isn’t the traditional HipHop emcee. He’s an artist who might show up in a Broadway play, Hollywood blockbuster, mix tape, poetry reading, political rally, or collaboration with your favorite emcee.

His work with Talib Kweli as BlackStar was a breath of fresh air amidst a stagnating HipHop pool. His solo album, Black on Both Sides, was and is classic material.

With both releases and in subsequent singles and freestyles Mos Def has shown a mastery of the art of emceeing and the ability to use HipHop to either move butts or expand minds.

Mos Def routinely combines the contemporary and the historical, collective Black experience to create works that have so outpaced what others are doing he could probably be considered one of the all-time HipHop greats if not for the fact that four years later we’re still waiting for album number two.

What this piece reflects is that blend of old and new shown through the depiction of musicians and poets Mos Def has lyrically acknowledged as inspiring him artistically.

Included in the collage are John Lee Hooker, Bo Diddley, The Last Poets, Jimi Hendrix, Little Richard, Dizzy Gillespie, Fela Kuti, Amiri Baraka, Bad Brains, James Brown, Chuck Berry, Thelonious Monk, Nina Simone, Otis Redding, and John Coltrane.

As for the featured lyrics, they are taken from "HipHop" where, despite the many songs dealing with this topic, Mos Def gives one of the best lyrical dissections of the art form and the culture.

HipHop is prosecution evidence / The out of court settlement / Ad space for liquor

Sick without benefits / Luxury tenements choking the skyline / It's low life getting treetop high

It is a backwater remedy / Bitter and tender memory / A class E felony / Facing the death penalty

Stimulant and sedative, original repetitive / Violently competitive / a school unaccredited

The break beats you get broken with / On-time and inappropriate / HipHop went from selling crack to smoking it

Medicine for loneliness / Remind me of Thelonious and Dizzy / Propers to B-boys getting busy

The wartime snapshot / The workingman's jackpot / A two-dollar snack box / Sold beneath the crack spot

Olympic sponsor of the black Glock / Gold medalist in the back shot / From the sovereign state of the have-nots / Where farmers have trouble with cash crops,

It's all city like phase two / HipHop will simply amaze you / Praise you / pay you / Do whatever you say do / But Black it can't save you.