I’ve never been one for concerts. When I was younger, I was never allowed to go to them. Now that I’m a grown woman, I still don’t go. I’m not sure why. But, when I got email blasts about Mos Def’s Aug. 15 concert, I figured I would go check him out.
I love Mos Def as an actor. He’s socially conscious, so it seemed like the natural thing to cover his concert at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County.
As an actor, he has won critical acclaim for serious roles, including his portrayal of Vivien Thomas, a surgical technician who developed procedures used to treat blue baby syndrome in the 1940s. Mos Def’s portrayal of Thomas in the 2004 HBO movie Something the Lord Made won him an Image Award, and earned him Emmy and Golden Globe award nominations.
He also portrayed guitarist Chuck Berry in the 2008 film Cadillac Records, and starred alongside Bruce Willis in the 2006 film 16 Blocks, among numerous other roles.
As a rapper, where he started his career, Mos has earned recognition for his albums Black on Both Sides in 1999, The New Danger in 2004, True Magic in 2006 and The Ecstatic this year.
Now, this was my first concert, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.
The first act on the stage was a rapper called DC Q. I’m not sure who he is. What I do know is that he didn’t really get the crowd going, and the music was so loud, it drowned out what he was saying.
But from the bits and pieces I gathered, his rapping wasn’t all that great. Yet he was very positive before and after his performance, so I can forgive the slightly weak lyrics.
He’s new, so I’ll cut him some slack and say that I’ve heard much worse.
Moving on. After a 15-minute wait, out comes Jay Electronica. He is a very outspoken rapper also known as the father of Erykah Badu’s latest child, who is named Mars.
Jay is a good rapper. That said, I didn’t agree with some of the things he said. But I do respect his brazenness and right to say that the military is there to push youngsters into war and then shoot them in the back. If you’re not a liberal person who respects all opinions, you could easily be offended by Jay Electronica.
I will give Jay his props, though. His performance was great and he hyped up the crowd, only to have them wait the good part of a half hour for Mos Def to make his socially conscious appearance.
“(The show) was amazing,” said Max Pierre, owner of AE Art & Entertainment District in the Design District of downtown Miami. “Mos Def is the first hip hop artist to perform on any Adrienne Arsht Center stage.”
Pierre was also a part of the planning committee to put on the show. While he says his opinion is a little biased because of his involvement, he is a true Mos Def fan.
There are a lot of Mos Def fans, like mother of three Natalie Wauchope, who said, “The show was good. The intermission ran a little too long, but I have no complaints. (Mos Def) did a good job and he played all of my favorite songs.”
This Miami native, like 99 percent of the crowd that evening, is a die-hard Mos Def fan. I’m not. Up until last Saturday, I hadn’t really paid much attention to Mos’ music.
Unfortunately, due to the really high octave of the music and Mos’ fast rapping style, I couldn’t get much from the music. I loved the beats, but not understanding what he was saying ended up being a letdown.
The concert goers either loved it or hated it. To appreciate Mos, you would have to absolutely love his music; or hate it. I wouldn’t say I hated it, but had I known the lyrics to his songs, I probably would have enjoyed the concert more.
Darrin Holender, a producer whose film, Rise Up, was screened last weekend in Miami and whose other film, Sorority Row, will be coming out in theaters across the country on Sept. 11, 2009, enjoyed Mos’ concert.
“Mos is one of the most talented people in the entertainment business. He genuinely wants to give; which is what it feels like to watch his shows,” said Holender, who snuck out from a screening that night of Rise Up at the Arsht Center, to see the concert.
While I’m not a huge fan of Mos Def like Holender, I agree that Mos gives out positive energy. Throughout his one-hour set, he kept thanking the audience for coming out, because they could have been anywhere else in the world.
Mos’ humbleness is very rarely seen in anyone in entertainment. This feat alone makes me want to take a second look at Mos’ music.
I’ll have to go out and buy at least one of his albums now, just to know what the heck he said on Saturday. A change-up in music is always welcomed. But a change to socially conscious, humble music with good beats is a really good step up.
For more information on Mos Def concert dates, venues, and photos, go to www.305hiphop.com.
Photo: Mos Def