New York's own hip-hop Renaissance man Mos Def had a helluva 2009—his own self-designed Converse shoes, his first show in South Africa, an appearance on House, the barrel of cool points he got when he jammed with Javelin in Dame Dash's basement. But we're guessing that, tonight, he's mainly celebrating the release of his fifth album The Ecstatic, a universally lauded, Grammy-nominated album in a year that featured more than one think-piece about rap music being "dead" (seriously, if it weren't for him and Raekwon, fortysomething music fans would have to go back to listening to the White Stripes or something). Like Mos's eclectic résumé, his recent output is suitably impossible to follow, vacillating between scratchy Dilla/Madlib boom-bap, glossy semi-Neptunes bangers, lo-fi creepiness, Afrobeat, faux-reggae, protest anthems, and good old-fashioned boasting. Catch him before he's on to the next one.
Sun., Jan. 17, 11:30 p.m., 2010