Mos Dub
Max Tannone
No Label
Free Digital Download
April 14, 2010

Track list
  1. Johnny Too Beef
  2. History Town
  3. Ms Vampire Booty
  4. In My Math
  5. Travelin' Underground
  6. Shroud The Stars
  7. Mr. Universe
  8. Summertime Running
  9. Kampala Truth Work
  10. Hurricane Black
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 4 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 3
It's not that often we review remix albums or so-called "mash-ups", but in this case we think we've come across an album that's truly worth of being checked out by reggae fans with an open ear and mind.

The term "mash-up" describes the result of mixing together two or more records to create a whole new track and that's exactly what NYC DJ and producer Max Tannone does to full effect. Known from the mash-up album "Jaydiohead" for which he combined the vocals of Jay-Z and the music of Radiohead, Max Tannone unleashes a brand new 10 track free downloadable mash-up album entitled "Mos Dub". Here he expertly and respectfully combines the vocals of hip hop star Dante Terrell Smith-Bey aka Mos Def with classic reggae riddims and vocals of Jamaican artists like The Slickers, Johnny Osbourne, Big Youth, Dawn Penn, Michael Prophet and the Wailing Souls.

Most of Mos Def's raps used for this project are worth hearing and it's astonishing to hear how Max Tannone has managed to mix it down in such a way that it all sounds very natural on top of reggae riddims. For the latter he has dug deep in the vaults of Jamaican producers such as Coxsone Dodd, Lee 'Scratch' Perry, Niney The Observer and Henry 'Junjo' Lawes. Don't read the following part of this review if you want to find out yourself what reggae riddims and/or songs are featured on this set. However read on if you are anxious to know these things before you are going to listen to the "Mos Dub" album.

It's almost too obvious that the opening track "Johnny Too Beef" has something to do with The Slickers' "Johnny Too Bad" and indeed it's that song you'll instantly recognise when we you're going to play that tune. Mos Def's "Beef" from the 2007 released album "Mos Definite" is combined with The Slickers classic tune from the soundtrack of "The Harder They Come", and it works very well. Next up is "History Town", the nicely done combination of Desmond Dekker's hit tune "007 Shanty Town" and a track from "The Ecstatic" called "History" performed by Mos Def feat. Talb Kweli. Truly excellent and one of the high points is "Ms. Vampire Booty", mashing up Mos Def's "Ms. Fat Booty" from "Black On Both Sides" with Scientist's "The Mummy Shroud" from the dub set "Rids The World Of Vampire Curse". Besides Mos Def it's Michael Prophet whose vocal from his tune "You're No Good" can be heard alongside samples of Dawn Penn and Big Youth.

Also for the matching "In My Math" Max Tannone used tracks from Scientist's "Rids The World Of Vampire Curse" and Mos Def's "Black On Both Sides", in this case "Your Teeth In My Neck" (again with the vocal of Michael Prophet) and "Mathematics". "Travellin' Underground" is underpinned by a riddim taken from Lee 'Scratch' Perry & The Upsetters' "Super Ape" album (track: "Underground"), while Mos Def's "Travellin' Man" can be found on his "Mos Definite" set. A nice piece, but certainly not one that blows you away. A far better effort is "Shroud The Stars" for which Max Tannone returns to Scientist's "Rids The World of Vampire Curse". This time it's "The Mummy Shroud", the dub version of the Wailing Souls' "Firehouse Rock", combined with Mos Def feat. Talib Kweli's 12" single "Bright As The Stars" that makes "Shroud The Stars" worth hearing. It's followed by "Mr. Universe", a mash-up of Mos Def's "Next Universe" from "Rawkus Presents Soundbombing 2" and The Observer All-Stars' "Mr. D. Brown Skank". Then drops the entertaining feelgood vibed "Summertime Running", which brings the listener Mos Def feat. Medina Green's "Summertime", a few samples including Bob Marley's "Sun Is Shining", and King Tubby & Errol Thompson's "Running Dub" from "The Black Foundation In Dub" album.

Then it's time for the killer "Kampala Truth Work" featuring Dub Specialist's "Kampala" from the Studio One dub album "African Rub A Dub", Johnny Osbourne's "Truth And Rights" and Mos Def's "Work It Out" from his "The Dangerous Mix" set. The album is rounded off with the wonderful "Hurricane Black", which benefits from Third World All Stars' "Black Moon" (taken from the Count Shelly produced "Rebel Rock" album from 1976) and in particular Michael "Bammie" Rose's stellar saxophone play. Furthermore this effort includes the title track from the "The Hurricane" soundtrack performed by Black Thought, Common & Mos Def.

All in all this is a brilliant mash-up album well worth checking out!

"Mos Dub" is available for free download here.