True Magic

True Magic (Or TRU3 MAGIC) is the third studio album by American rapper Mos Def, released on December 29, 2006 by Geffen Records. After Geffen had absorbed Mos Def's former label Rawkus, the album was released haphazardly to fulfill a contractual obligation; its physical release lacked a booklet, cover art, lyrics, or credits.

True Magic
Studio album by
ReleasedDecember 29, 2006
GenreAlternative hip hop
Mos Def chronology
The New Danger
True Magic
The Ecstatic

Following an internet leak, True Magic was released to mostly mixed reviews from critics, and has sold over 97,000 copies 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 receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Metacritic45/100 [4]
Review scores
SourceRating     [5]
AllMusic     [2]
Boston HeraldA−[6]
Entertainment WeeklyC+[7]
Pitchfork Media4.5/10[10]
Stylus MagazineD[11]
Tiny Mix Tapes     [12]
Winnipeg Sun     [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 listingEdit

1."True Magic"DJ Epik & Mark Knoxx2:51
2."Undeniable"Rich Harrison4:16
3."U R the One"Minnesota3:58
4."Thug Is a Drug"Minnesota2:52
5."Crime & Medicine"Mos Def3:08
6."A Ha"Minnesota2:35
7."Dollar Day"DJ Khalil5:14
8."Napoleon Dynamite"Preservation2:01
9."There Is a Way"Preservation3:27
10."Sun, Moon, Stars"Preservation4:39
11."Murder of a Teenage Life"The Neptunes3:25
12."Fake Bonanza"Preservation4:11
13."Perfect Timing"Mos Def4:14


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 Archived 2009-01-12 at the Wayback Machine
  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 linksEdit