Brooklyn’s finest: Mos Def brings The New Danger to D.C.
Wed. Dec. 8
Mos Def finally got off Broadway prosceniums and Hollywood soundstages long enough to grace the populace with another album. Excuse the bitterness, but it’s been five years since Black on Both Sides, the Universal Magnetic’s seminal debut. Fans have been salivating ever since. He’d drop a ridiculously good track on a mix tape here and there (see “Beef” and “Jam On It”), but for the most part, he’s been pretty quiet, and his sophomore LP was long overdue.
All that aside, his new release, The New Danger, is stunning, straddling lines between hip hop, funk and punk rock. His band, Black Jack Johnson (named as both a tribute to the first black heavyweight champ, and so as not to be confused with very, very white surf rocker Jack Johnson) draws from an all-star lineup of kindred spirits – Living Colour, Parliament-Funkadelic and Bad Brains.
Hip hop’s reigning poet laureate isn’t quite as verbose as he’s been on previous records, which is good if you just want ridiculous flow and genre-bending music, but not as welcome if you were a fan of Def’s politically and emotionally charged verse. This is Mighty Mos’s party record. Then again, he still comes off as more intelligent than every other emcee out there. Heck, he comes off as more intelligent than most policymakers out there. A combination of arresting lyrics and music from the vanguard ensure a jaw-dropping live performance.
Le Tigre growls through D.C.
Sunday Dec. 12
When Kathleen Hanna’s classic riot girl band Bikini Kill disbanded in 1998, the iconic bandleader began working on a solo project. She recruited the help of Johanna Fateman. A year later, the two were joined by J.D. Samson to complete the Indie electronic trio Le Tigre. Le Tigre combines a distinct eclectic pop sound with electronic beats to carry its feminism-charged lyrics. They attack misogyny and other social issues to upbeat dance pop, which distinguishes them musically from the feminist scene.
Le Tigre released its first two albums on the Mr. Lady label, attracting a steady following with a unique sound. The group completed its third album, This Island, in 2004 with the unexpected backing of Universal. In addition to generous financial backing, Universal offered Le Tigre the opportunity to work with master mixer Ric Ocasek on their most solid album yet. This Island maintains the same energized lyrics that appealed to fans from Le Tigre’s past recordings and adds a stronger, more invigorated feel. Unlike much of the dying electroclash movement, Le Tigre is still creating its original promising and politically motivated dance music, which is bound to impress new fans.