Black on Both Sides
Black on Both Sides
Studio album by Mos Def


12 October 1999


November 1998 - July 1999


Sony Music Studios, Chung King Studios and D&D Studios
(New York City)


Hip hop






88-Keys, Ayatollah, D-Prosper, Diamond D, DJ Premier, Etch-A-Sketch, Ge-ology, Weldon Irvine, David Kennedy, Mr. Khaliyl, Mos Def (also exec.), Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Psycho Les, Shaka (exec.)

Mos Def chronology


The New Danger (2004)

Black on Both Sides is the debut album by American rapper Mos Def, released in 1999 on Rawkus Records. Prior to the album's recording, Mos Def had collaborated with Talib Kweli as the duo Black Star and released the album Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star in 1998, which raised high expectations for a solo effort. Black on Both Sides features an emphasis on live instrumentation and socially conscious lyrics. Talib Kweli, Q-Tip, Busta Rhymes and singer Vinia Mojica make guest appearances, while production is supplied by DJ Premier, Diamond D, 88-Keys, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Psycho Les of The Beatnuts, among others. 

The album was both commercially and critically successful. It peaked at #25 on the Billboard 200, and #3 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts. Black on Both Sides is often considered Mos Def's best solo album. 

Track listingEdit

No. Title Performer(s) Writer(s) Producer(s) Time
1. "Fear Not of Man" Mos Def Smith Mos Def 4:28
2. "Hip Hop" Mos Def Kirkland, Smith Diamond D, Mos Def (co.) 3:16
3. "Love" Mos Def Njapa, Smith 88-Keys 4:23
4. "Ms. Fat Booty" Mos Def Dorell, Smith Ayatollah 3:43
5. "Speed Law" Mos Def Njapa, Smith 88-Keys 4:16
6. "Do It Now" Mos Def, Busta Rhymes Dillon, Smith, Smith Mr. Khaliyl 3:49
7. "Got" Mos Def Muhammad, Smith Ali Shaheed Muhammad 3:17
8. "UMI Says" Mos Def Kennedy, Smith Mos Def, David Kennedy (co.) 5:10
9. "New World Water" Mos Def Fernandez, Smith Psycho Les 3:11
10. "Rock n Roll" Mos Def Fernandez, Smith Psycho Les, Mos Def (co.) 5:02
11. "Know That" Mos Def, Talib Kweli Dorell, Greene, Smith Ayatollah 4:03
12. "Climb" Mos Def, Vinia Mojica Dunn, Erving, Smith Etch-A-Sketch, Mos Def (co.), Weldon Irvine (co.) 4:02
13. "Brooklyn" Mos Def Kennedy, Smith, Young Ge-ology, Mos Def (co.), David Kennedy (co.) 5:09
14. "Habitat" Mos Def Dunn, Irvine, Smith Etch-A-Sketch 4:39
15. "Mr. N***a" Mos Def, Q-Tip Davis, Prosper, Smith D-Prosper, Mos Def (co.) 5:12
16. "Mathematics" Mos Def Martin, Smith DJ Premier 4:06
17. "May-December" Mos Def Irvine, Njapa, Smith 88-Keys, Mos Def (co.) 3:29
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