True Magic

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True Magic
Studio album by Mos Def
Released December 29, 2006
Genre Hip hop
Length 52:37
Label Geffen
Producer The Neptunes, Rich Harrison, Minnesota, Preservation, Mos Def
Mos Def chronology
The New Danger
(2004)The New Danger2004
True Magic
The Ecstatic
(2009)The Ecstatic2009

True Magic is the third studio album by American rapper Mos Def. It was released on December 29, 2006, by Geffen Records. After Geffen had absorbed Mos Def's record label Rawkus, the album was released haphazardly to fulfill a contractual obligation; its physical release lacked a booklet, cover art, lyrics, or credits and followed an online leak of the music. True Magic received mostly mixed reviews from critics and reached 97,000 copies sold by 2014.


True Magic was released to fulfill Mos Def's contract with Geffen Records.[1] It featured production from The Neptunes, Rich Harrison and Minnesota, among others.[2] The song "Crime & Medicine" samples GZA's 1995 single "Liquid Swords", while the song "Dollar Day" uses the same beat as Juvenile's "Nolia Clap".[3]

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 45/100 [4]
Review scores
Source Rating 3.5/5 stars[5]
AllMusic 2/5 stars[2]
Boston Herald A−[6]
Entertainment Weekly C+[7]
HipHopDX 3/5[8]
Now 4/5[9]
Pitchfork Media 4.5/10[10]
Stylus Magazine D[11]
Tiny Mix Tapes 3.5/5[12]
Winnipeg Sun 3.5/5 stars[13]

Following an online leak of the album,[12] True Magic was released by Geffen in a clear plastic case without a booklet, cover art, lyrics, or credits.[14][15] Geffen re-released it several months later with complete artwork and a slightly altered track order.[1]

True Magic received generally mixed reviews from critics; it holds an aggregate score of 45 out of 100 at Metacritic.[16] AllMusic's Andy Kellman called it "a disappointment" with "just enough quality material ('Dollar Day,' 'Fake Bonanza,' 'There Is a Way') to make the average fan not want to wipe it memory, but the flashes of brilliance are all too scarce."[2] New York Times critic Nate Chinen said the music sounded as if it had been produced "on the cheap" and that some songs carried "urgent messages upfront, but not much depth within". Mos Def "may deliver tantalizing flashes of lyrical skill, but he doesn't inspire much feeling other than listless dread", Chinen wrote.[17] Michael Furman from Tiny Mix Tapes was more enthusiastic about the album, writing that "it's not a happy record, and there are few, if any, genius rhymes. But it speaks volumes about the frustration and resignation of the underprivileged."[12] Its single, "Undeniable", was nominated for the 2007 Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance.[1] By March 2014, True Magic had sold 97,000 copies in the United States.[18]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Producer(s) Length
1. "True Magic" DJ Epik & Mark Knoxx 2:51
2. "Undeniable" Rich Harrison 4:16
3. "U R the One" Minnesota 3:58
4. "Thug Is a Drug" Minnesota 2:52
5. "Crime & Medicine" Mos Def 3:08
6. "A Ha" Minnesota 2:35
7. "Dollar Day" DJ Khalil 5:14
8. "Napoleon Dynamite" Preservation 2:01
9. "There Is a Way" Preservation 3:27
10. "Sun, Moon, Stars" Preservation 4:39
11. "Murder of a Teenage Life" The Neptunes 3:25
12. "Fake Bonanza" Preservation 4:11
13. "Perfect Timing" Mos Def 4:14
14. "Lifetime" Preservation 5:47


Chart (2006) Peak
US Billboard 200[19] 77
US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums[20] 25
US Billboard Top Rap Albums[21] 12


  1. ^ a b c S. Samuel (January 13, 2009). "Mos Def Reveals New Album Details, Bringing Back Def Poetry". SOHH. Retrieved June 4, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c Kellman, Andy. "True Magic - Mos Def". Allmusic. Retrieved on 2009-09-25.
  3. ^ Mos Def - Tru3 Magic - Hip-Hop Album Review
  4. ^
  5. ^ Rott, Ivan. "Mos Def - True Magic (Geffen)". Retrieved on 2009-09-25.
  6. ^ Carter, Lauren. "WHAT'S HOT, WHAT'S NOT (Arts and Lifestyle)". Boston Herald: January 6, 2007.
  7. ^ Dombal, Ryan (2007-01-19). "True Magic Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2009-09-25.
  8. ^ HipHopDX review
  9. ^ Richards, Jason (December 21–28, 2006). "Mos Def (True Magic)". NOW. Retrieved on 2009-09-25.
  10. ^ Fennessey, Sean (2007-01-04). "Mos Def: True Magic". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved on 2009-09-25.
  11. ^ Schwartz, Barry (2007-01-09). "Mos Def - True Magic - Review". Stylus Magazine. Retrieved on 2009-09-25.
  12. ^ a b c Furman, Michael (2007). "Mos Def - Tru3 Magic". Tiny Mix Tapes. Archived from the original on 2007-10-23. Retrieved 2013-01-23. 
  13. ^ Winnipeg Sun review
  14. ^ Benbow, Julian (2007-01-10). "Mos Def reappears with 'True Magic'". The Boston Globe. Retrieved on 2009-09-25.
  15. ^ Sterdan, Darryl (2001-01-05). "Album Review: TRUE MAGIC". Jam!. Retrieved on 2009-09-25.
  16. ^ "Critic Reviews for True Magic (First Version)". Metacritic. Retrieved on 2009-09-25.
  17. ^ New York Times review
  18. ^ Baker, Soren (March 7, 2014). "50 Cent Leaves Interscope: How Nas, Busta Rhymes, Ghostface Killah & Mos Def Fared After Leaving Their Longtime Label Homes". HipHopDX. Retrieved June 4, 2016. 
  19. ^ "Mos Def Album & Song Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved June 18, 2012. 
  20. ^ "Mos Def Album & Song Chart History: R&B/Hip-Hop Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved June 18, 2012. 
  21. ^ "Mos Def Album & Song Chart History: Rap Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved June 18, 2012. 

External links[edit]