Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

UTD: Manifest Destiny [Illson Media, 2004]
In the mid '90s, before Black Star, Mos Def joined his little brother DCQ and great lost female Ces in this trio, and he's never been more likable--his wisdom is still eager, too untested for the quiet-confidence bit he developed soon enough. DCQ's broader style is downhome in a world where Bed-Stuy is Dixie. Ces is so articulate and direct--a woman speaking as a human, like Lyte at her best--you feel how the indie-rap boys' club must have gotten her down. And the market-ready kung fu of their demos moves with a catchy quickness. A-