Monday, March 30, 2009

Mumbling Mos Def

Salman Rushdie and Mos Def were guests on Friday's edition of Bill Maher's "Real Time". I've been surprised by Mos Def on a few previous occasions. His film roles in "Be Kind Re-wind", "16 Blocks" and "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" each were pleasantly surprising, in that I'd assumed he was just another hip-hop artist to whom it was useless my trying to relate. Wrong. He's a good actor too.

He's not exactly who I'd had in mind as Ford Prefect when I read "Hitchhiker", but he did a good job with the part.

On "Real Time" Mos Def's opinions were more or less in tune with what I'd been thinking myself a lot of the time. The big problem I, and I'm sure many other viewers had, was having to strain to catch what he was saying. Mos tends to mumble. It's a pity, because he has opinions which need exposure. The other guest, Salman Rushdie, is such a clear and precise speaker that the contrast became even more obvious when Mos spoke - or mumbled.

Mos Def is, I understand, a shortened slang form of "Most Definitely". The star's real name is Dante Terrell Smith. He was born on 11 December 1973 in Brooklyn, New York.

A 12 noon chart for that day tells us that he has Sun, Neptune and Mercury in ebullient, philosophical Sagittarius, Neptune and Mercury are close enough to be termed conjoined. I don't understand anything about his musical genre, but Neptune conjunct Mercury has to indicate a highly imaginative mental style, very useful in any creative activity, music and acting included. Hey - and it also now strikes me that foggy Neptune so close to Mercury might account for his tendency to mumble, often incoherently.

Venus and Jupiter (ruler of his Sun) are in Aquarius in harmonious sextile to Mercury/Neptune- which relates nicely to his political and social commentary: left-wing liberal. Mars in Aries is in harmonious trine to his Sun, bringing in a little aggressive edge to his otherwise genial, likeable personality. The photograph (right) represents the Mos Def I sense.

Looking at his natal chart along with that of Bill Maher (right), I can easily see why they would get along. Bill's Sun and Mercury at 0 and 12 Aquarius match Mos's Venus and Jupiter at 2 and 10 Aquarius. And Bill's Mars at 4 Sagittarius matches Mos's Mercury at 4 Sagittarius. Their Moons are compatible too, Bill's in Taurus, Mos's in Cancer.


Poet_Girl said...

Totally agree, Twilight! I was thinking the same thing about Mos Def -- I am a 40-something white woman who doesn't listen to rap so his music isn't my thing (altho I like his work on Def Poetry Jam), but I thought his comments were great. It was a little offensive, actually, that the other 3 guys (Maher, Rushdie and then Christopher Hitchens) more or less dismissed as naive, his suggestion that we stop obsessing on Bin Laden and focus our money/resources here at home.

His comments are a great example of original thinking on this subject. Maher himself routinely complains that Americans are either hysterical or paralyzed ... wouldn't this be a great way to re-think our whole reaction to 9/11?

So many years later, many, many people have hypothesized that we have fallen victim to al Qaeda's 'master plan' to get us to spend ourselves into bankruptcy, chasing after them in these wars that are unwinnable and unsustainable.

But back to Mos Def -- yes, the mumbling (and hiding under the shadow of his cap) was distracting.

You mentioned how Maher & Mos Def seem compatible based on their charts. I was actually thinking that Maher seemed to be irritated with him, sort of playing the part of the more serious, 'grown-up' host against Mos Def's more populist message.

Thanks again for your always topical and interesting post! :)

R Phoenix said...

Was this the show where Mos Def challenged Maher on 911?

Mos Def was in the infamous "Blackstar" with Talib Kweli on Rawkus Records. They had major street cred and then Blackstar split up, with Def and Kweli going their separate ways.

Def got into a heavy metal rock scene, where he did more spoken word and ranting versus rapping.

I loved him in "Be Kind, Rewind."

anthonynorth said...

Never heard of Mos Def before. Salman Rushdie, though, is a different matter.

Twilight said...

Poet Girl ~~ Hi!

Yes, I agree with what you've written.

I got the impression that Bill was playing Devil's Advocate some of the time. I felt he was irritated with Mos Def because he wasn't being clear enough and Bill realised this. He asked Mos to take his hat off so the audience could see his face early on, which was a hint of how Bill was feeling. As host he has to keep the audience interested and think what they might be thinking, I guess. (I'm a big Maher fan, so it's hard for me to criticise him). ;-)

Bill's views do diverge from Mos's in some areas, they are both left-leaning, but at different angles. :-) Perhaps it's that similar leftwing tendency that shows in the two charts.

Twilight said...

R Phoenix ~~ Hi Robert!

No, I've just searched via Google and watched part of the one you're referring to. That was a good show too. Cornel West was the other guest, and I like him a lot (I wrote a blog about him - it might have been following that show - can't remember).

Mos Def believes in the 9/11 conspiracy theory, I gather. I don't, or at least not totally. I'm sure there are things we don't know about the incident, but I don't believe the whole conspiracy tale that's been told.

Yes, I liked Mos in "Be Kind Rewind" - he and Jack Black played well together, I thought. :-)

Twilight said...

AN ~~~ I doubt that Mos Def has much of a following in the UK, although as I recall, rap music was fairly popular there, so I could be wrong. It's probably not your thing though - it's not mine.

Poet_Girl said...

"I felt he was irritated with Mos Def because he wasn't being clear enough and Bill realised this. He asked Mos to take his hat off so the audience could see his face early on, which was a hint of how Bill was feeling...."

Yes -- I was glad Maher spoke up about that, and it was interesting to see the polarity between them as the show went on.

I never miss Maher's show if I can help it, and I usually agree with him on most issues. But I find him to be increasingly self-centered (egotistical) and really contemptuous of his audience. He seems to be under the delusion that everything he says is comic gold, and people are just too stupid to get the jokes.

As someone who is a HUGE fan of comedy, I can say that Maher is often laugh-out-loud funny (esp. his closing comment each week). And of course his biting political commentary is great. But no comedian is perfect 100% of the time ... and often Maher's delivery is flat or the joke itself is just not that funny, and he always takes his professional frustration out on the crowd. Which is really ungracious, since he would be speaking to a roomful of empty seats if not for the fans! Every show now is peppered with little temper tantrums for not acknowledging his genius.

Sorry, off on a tangent here! :)

Twilight said...

Poet Girl ~~~ Agreed, that Bill isn't funny all the time, we've said often recently that he needs new script writers. I think he'll not have as easy time finding humour with Obama as he did with Bush. All comedians will be in the same boat, of course. At least Bill has the chat show as a second string, and his political knowledge, which most comedians don't have.

I've fallen out with him in the past, but forgave him. As you say, nobody's perfect. :-)