Over the Weekend: Mos Def and Talib Kweli at the Gothic Theatre

Over the Weekend: Mos Def and Talib Kweli at the Gothic Theatre
Letitia Salazar

Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Jay Electronica, DCQ, Spoke-In-Wordz
Gothic Theatre
Friday, August 21, 2009
Better Than:
anything Lil Wayne or Drake could pull off

Mos Def hasn't headlined a nationwide tour since the Lyricist Lounge tour in 2000, where he recruited folks like Bernie Worrell (of Parliament-Funkadelic), Dr. Know (of Bad Brains) and Will Calhoun (of Living Colour) to form the band, Black Jack Johnson. After that tour he took a break to focus on his acting career. But now the Mighty Mos has returned for a national tour in support of his exceptional new album, The Ecstatic. He also brought along Talib Kweli and DJ Hi-Tek reunited as Reflection Eternal and Jay Electronica, an up and coming MC with superb skills, but is probably more famous for fathering Erykah Badu's third child.

The evening started on time with opening sets from Denver emcee

Spoke-In-Wordz with DJ Chonz, who was followed by Mos Def's younger

brother DCQ. I arrived to the Gothic late and missed both Spoke and

DCQ's set but word within the crowd was that Spoke killed it, and DCQ

put the crowd to sleep. I also missed most of Jay Electronica's set

except for the last two songs. And while the last two from Jay was a

solid performance, there was grumblings in the crowd that he talked too

much during the set and didn't showcase enough of his music, which is a

criticism that has followed him since coming on the scene. Regardless,

his skills on the mike are unquestionable.

Shortly after Jay left

the stage and mingled in the crowd, DJ Hi-Tek went behind the

turntables to the sounds of the cheering audience. He introduced Talib

Kweli who took the stage to the sounds of "Down for the Count" from the

Reflection Eternal album. Kweli and Tek continued with selections from

their first and only album together including "Eternalists," and "Too

Late." They performed a couple of new songs from their reunion album

Revolutions Per Minute, including the first single "Back Again." The

reasoning for their initial hiatus was that Hi-Tek wanted to work on

different projects and didn't want to be just identified as a producer

for "backpack rap." But the chemistry he and Kweli have is undeniable

in the new music. While Kweli's stage show consists of just him and a

microphone, he's able to get the crowd amped and into what he's doing.

But that's easy when the music you've created is considered classic.

The set continued with a mix of traditional Reflection Eternal, some

Talib solo joints like "Say Something" and "Never Been in Love," and

even some select songs from Hi-Tek's solo albums. The duo ended their

set on Talib's hit, "Get By," but it wouldn't be the last we saw of


Over the Weekend: Mos Def and Talib Kweli at the Gothic Theatre
Letitia Salazar

Mos Def began his headlining set playing the drums and

performing selections from The Ecstatic including "Priority," "Twilite

Speedball" and "Auditorium." Matter of fact, I think he played almost

every song from the album by the end of the night. Midway through his

set, fans were chanting for Mos to perform "Ms Fat Booty," his hit from

his debut album, Black on Both Sides. Mos was annoyed.

"I hate that shit," he told the crowd. "We're in charge of the music tonight!"


on, Mos would become annoyed with a couple of people in the crowd

again. There was a group in the front passing a blunt around and

blowing smoke towards the stage.
"Don't blow that smoke up here man," Mos said giving a stern look to the fans. "I need my lungs tonight."


rest of the set went on without incident as he played soul samples

between songs and offered up a fun Michael Jackson tribute performing

"Billie Jean." He also had a reggae tribute that lead into "Definition"

with Talib Kweli running onstage. They also performed "Respiration,"

from the Blackstar album and "History" from The Ecstatic. Mos continued

with more songs from the new album, which had him going back and forth

from his drum set. He even performed "Travelling Man" a slick

collaboration with DJ Honda that fans forget about. Mos ended his set

on the drums playing to the Jackson 5's "Can You Feel It." He left the

stage but Jay Electronica hopped on the mike and got the crowd to chant

Mos Def's name. It worked as Mos returned and performed "Brown Sugar"

and "Re: Definition" with Kweli. The crowd had to be more than


Personal Bias:
I went on tour

with Mos Def and Talib Kweli in 2000 hung out with Jay Electronica when

he lived in Denver 10 years ago.
Random Detail: The Gothic was so hot, Mos asked the lights be kept low and red for his set.
By the Way: Jay Electronica and Mos Def are working on an album together tentatively titled Simpatico.

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