Label: Rawkus
Release Date: 8/26/1998

Black Star may have introduced the world to both Talib Kweli and Mos Def, but Black on Both Sides showed the ambit of Mos Def's talent. Black Star had established him as the Universal Magnetic-a rapper who could seamlessly appeal to a variety of crowds with his smooth style but one who was still whip-smart and outspoken. His debut didn't just feature his expertly crafted compositions, it expanded on it.

His forays into other genres like punk rock, soul, reggae, and even funk made him a more dynamic MC than anyone could have guessed. And to top it all off, Mos even sang rather well on several cuts and played instruments on many songs. It's an album that can accurately be described as a tour de force.