"Oil and water don't mix
Petrolio don't go good with no fish
Aw, it ain't my fault.
Mos Def is scheduled to perform at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 7, at the Maui Theatre in Lahaina.
Photo via The Maui Celebrity Series
Soulful Hawaiian artist Paula Fuga will play at Stella Blues Supper Club on Saturday.
Paula will be accompanied by Hutch Hutchinson on bass and singer/guitarist Mike Love.
Four-course dinner and show costs $60; show only is $30.
BP, big pimpin, big problem, bad presence
Billionaire pirate, boiling point, burst pressure
Aw, it ain't my fault."
So raps Mos Def on the single "It Ain't My Fault," recorded with Lenny Kravitz and the New Orleans' Preservation Hall Jazz Band, scolding BP's mishandling of the ecological disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
After oil executives refused to take responsibility and blamed one another for the spill during congressional hearings, Mos Def was inspired to come up with new lyrics for a Mardi Gras and brass band standard originally recorded in 1964.
Available on iTunes, with all proceeds benefiting the Gulf Relief Foundation (promoting coastal restoration and assisting families affected by the disaster), "It Ain't My Fault" was also performed by the artists at a Gulf Aid concert, prompting the Preservation Hall Jazz Band's creative director Ben Jaffe to hail the Brooklyn-born emcee as "the 21st-century Louis Armstrong."
The catchy tune would perfectly fit HBO's latest dramatic series "Treme," which explores post-Katrina New Orleans. Back in 2005, Mos Def railed against the Bush administration's ineptitude in assisting the less-advantaged citizens of the hurricane-ravaged city in the blistering song "Katrina Klap."
A few days after the one-year anniversary of the disaster, he staged a guerrilla performance of the song on a flatbed truck outside MTV's Video Music Awards show at New York's Radio City Music Hall - and was promptly arrested.
"I don't care about anything else," Mos said in a recent video interview. "Everything else is low priority, my career, the brass rings that they hand out. If I don't use the power that I've been given to address this ****, then I might as well just go lay in the casket."
One of the most powerful rappers of our time, Mos Def towers above a shallow sea of mediocrity.
"Extended exposure to commercial rap has got to have some sort of negative psychological impact," he advised in a Spin interview.
An innovative artist, inspired poet, Emmy-nominated actor, activist and multi-instrumentalist (he raps and drums at the same time) Mos Def (born Dante Terrell Smith) released the brilliant album "The Ecstatic" last year.
"Peace before everything, God before anything, love before anything"
- Mos Def rapping on "Priority" from "The Ecstatic"
An instant classic, it's a complex, original, sophisticated work of art light years beyond mainstream hip-hop.
Infused with global influences and drawing on the talents of Madlib, Slick Rick, Chad Hugo, Scarface, Talib Kweli and K'Naan, the eclectic work quotes Malcolm X and Nigerian legend Fela Kuti, while sampling artists as diverse as Turkish singer Selda Bagcan, and soul greats Marvin Gaye and Bobby Hebb. Among the surprises a beautiful, soulful song "No Hay Nada Mas," sung in Spanish.
"When I'm down, I just draw some roses, You don't have to, cut up no roses, Please just leave them living"
- Mos Def on "Roses" from "The Ecstatic"
Eliciting some of the best reviews of his career, Spin proclaimed: "'The Ecstatic' is easily his finest full-length since 'Black on Both Sides,' his 1999 solo debut."
"The aim is high," Mos declared in a USA Today interview. "I don't want to waste anyone's time or money. I want to give people some truth and positive heart lift. The quality, clarity and ambition are there. There are no discotheque anthems. No disrespect to discotheque."
As to the album's title he continued: "The term was used in the 17th and 18th centuries to describe people who were either mad or divinely inspired and consequently dismissed as kooks. Something about that just resonated with me. It's also a type of devotional energy, an impossible dream that becomes reality, but is discredited before it's realized."
If ruling hip-hop weren't enough, Mos has also conquered the movie screen. A diverse range of roles includes a militant rapper in Spike Lee's "Bamboozled," a humorous alien in the cult classic "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," rock 'n' roll legend Chuck Berry in "Cadillac Records" and an engaging video store clerk in "Be Kind Rewind."
Upcoming, he will star with Don Cheadle and Angela Bassett in a Danny Glover-directed epic on the life of former slave and Haitian independence hero Francois Toussaint-Louverture.
And he's making a documentary about the relatively unknown black punk band Death. "It's going to be great," Mos said in an interview with Filter Magazine. "These dudes were pre-Sex Pistols, pre-Bad Brains and nobody knows them."
Balancing careers in film and music, he told a U.K. BBC radio DJ, "I love acting when the story's right, but I have a strange relationship with Hollywood. I want to make the right movie, and I have other things I can do to satisfy my creative impulse. I love hip-hop and the freedom I have with the music. I'm feeling good making music; I want to give the music some time."
As a musical collaborator, in recent years Mos has recorded with Stephen Marley on the album "Mind Control;" teamed with Somali rapper K'Naan on "Troubadour" and with The Roots on "Rising Down;" joined Damien Marley on "Love It or Leave It Alone/Welcome to
Jamrock," the closing track of Alicia Keys MTV Unplugged; and became an official Gorillaz character on their latest hit album, "Plastic Beach."
Teamed with soul great Bobby Womack on the album's single, "Stylo," Mos performed the irresistible song at a Gorillaz concert in London in April, on a star-packed bill with fellow collaborators including Mick Jones and Paul Simonon of The Clash.
In December, Mos performed a rare show in London to promote "The Ecstatic.""This year's comeback, 'The Ecstatic,' is his best album to date, and it was that record's combustible mixture of outspoken racial politics, musical fundamentalism and a deep and abiding love of hip-hop's rulebook-trashing freedom that fuelled his performance," raved a review in the U.K. daily The Guardian.
"Backed by a brace of DJs, and occasionally playing a drum kit, Mos Def was charismatic, engaging, and often quite brilliant. While so many of his peers are content to build their own brand, Mos Def is out on the music's front line, reminding us of its potential transformative power."
"I just wanna say I appreciate all the love and good vibrations that folks have been sendin' my way thru the years on this particular journey," Mos says on his MySpace page. "And I'm wishin' you all peace love and power in your own journey as well. The elders say, "love 'em all, trust a few, and fear none" that's wassup. One love. Peace."
* The Maui Celebrity Series presents Mos Def at 9:30 p.m. Aug. 7 at Maui Theatre in the Old Lahaina Center. Tickets are $125, $75 and $55 at the theater, call 856-7973, or Ticketmaster, www.ticketmaster.com.
Soulful Hawaiian artist Paula Fuga will play at Stella Blues Supper Club on Saturday. Paula just returned to the islands after a monthlong trek across the Mainland in support ofJack Johnson's U.S. tour, including singing before 19,000 fans in Hartford, Conn.
A member of the consciousness-raising Mana Maoli Collective, Paula sang with Johnson and Ziggy Marley at the Kokua Festival on Oahu in April.
She had previously recorded with the reggae legend on his Grammy-winning "Family Time." And Paula sang on Johnson's latest album "To The Sea" and the live "En Concert."
Paula will be accompanied by Hutch Hutchinson on bass and singer/guitarist Mike Love. Four-course dinner at 6 and show at 7:30 p.m. costs $60; show only is $30.