Mos Def

Ten years after Mos Def's solo debut, Black on Both Sides, fans might've looked at his subsequent uneven catalog and started to wonder if their fondest memories of him in the '00s would consist mostly of his Chappelle's Show cameos. But after the 2004's divisive, rock-heavy The New Danger and 2006's rushed-sounding True Magic, the rapper-turned-actor staged a comeback that's resulted in one of the year's most adventurous hip-hop records.

The internationally minded The Ecstatic highlights Mos' mercury flow, fusing it with heavy-hitting psychedelic funk beats (via the always-on-point likes of Madlib, Oh No and J Dilla) and reinforcing the still-vibrant career of an MC people almost forgot was great.