I stayed away from this because of the lukewarm reputation it has but I like a lot of it. It does have unique touches but it isn't as rock-influenced as a number of listeners make it seem with a number of songs still maintaining the foundations of hip hop. It starts off slow. I don't like anything much until track 4, but from there it gets on a roll.
'Grown Man Business' is dope with the 'The Cecil Holmes Soulful Sounds' 'I'm Gonna Love You Just a Little More Baby' sample (he basically just raps over the start of the song) that has been used on a number of tracks including Nas' 'No Idea's Original', but why do the vocals sound like he recorded it on a phone? Another strong song is 'Modern Marvel', but I wish it was broken up into three tracks as it takes 3 minutes to take off, the next 3 minutes are nice, but the best portion is the final 3 minutes.
Elsewhere, Kanye, back when he was an amazing producer, on the boards and Mos on the mic, kill 'Sunshine'. I think that's the best song here. 'The Rape Over', removed from pressings and not found on streaming platforms today, is a short, but hard critique of the rap industry. 'The Takeover' beat fits perfectly for this. Again though, the 'vocals' are low quality. It switches up with 'Blue Black Jack' with a near bluesy instrumental and the next song 'Bedstuy Parade & Funeral March' follows those musical themes. 'Sex Love and Money' and 'Close Edge', that fans of the Chappelle Show will recall, take it back to rawer beats with Mos rapping with vigor.
Along with 'Freaky Black Greetings', 'The Easy Spell' is one of the most rock-influenced. I don't love the hook here that repeats throughout the verse too. Along with the second half of 'War', it's my least favourite song. Mos follows that with something completely different; a heartfelt soul song, where he sounds like Bob Marley at times.
Most albums either start or end with the strongest tracks, but here, the middle is the best portion. There are lots of musical themes here, which probably explains the average reputation it has as someone loving everything on offer is unlikely. Well worth checking out for something a little different.
Best Tracks: Zimzallabim, Sunshine, Close Edge, Grown Man Business, Modern Marvel (from the 3min mark)