Does anyone else remember back in the late '90s when Ol' Dirty Bastard would pop up in the news every other day? One day he'd be using his retard strength to lift a car off a kid, then the next thing you know he'd be bumrushing Shawn Colvin's Grammy acceptance speech.

That's not to mention the crack-smoking, the shootouts with the cops, the almost falling off hotel balconies, the almost getting burned to death by pyro at the VMAs and so on and so forth. Shit, it's a wonder he lasted as long as he did!

There is no modern equivalent of Ol Dirty Bastard circa 1998, and I'm not sure if there could be, but Mos Def sure is trying his damndest. As far as I know, he's not on crack or any other hard drugs, but given the course of his career as of late, I shudder to think if he was.

His comments about tall Israelis, which have subsequently been redacted from copies of 2004's The New Danger, should've been my first clue, but I knew something was up when he had the sheer balls to be doing shows out in LA accusing Suge Knight of murdering 2Pac and Biggie.

Even Diddy himself won't broach that issue 10 years after the fact.

Then, seemingly unconcerned with his image as Mr. Brown Skin Lady, he went and married not only a white chick from Canada, but a motherfucking video chick. (She was in Snoop's "Drop It Like It's Hot" clip). Not that I can blame him or anything. I'm just saying.

Indeed, Mos Def is far from the first rapper to trade up once he had the means. None other than the late, great Biggie Smalls himself went from Lil' Kim (back when she was about something) to Faith Evans (light skinted with bigger boobs) to Charli Baltimore (skinnier and essentially white).

My favorite though was when he dissed Bono of all people on his typically half-assed[1] Hurricane Katrina tribute "Katrina Clap," then got arrested for performing it outside last year's VMAs. Aside from being hilarious to watch on YouTube the next day, it helped shed light on an important issue.

"Katrina Clap" (and that's probably not its real name) is one of the tracks included on Mos Def's new obviously-thrown-together contractual obligation of an album Tru3 Magic, which just sort of showed up in stores without so much as a cover a couple of weeks ago.

It's since been pulled from shelves in order to be re-released in March with a CD booklet and a few bonus tracks, which suggests to me that sending it to stores the last week of 2006 may have been due to some tax write-off scheme on Geffen's part...

As spotty as it is, I can't give Tru3 Magic a full-on recommendation, but - as cliche as it sounds - Mos does show flashes of brilliance here and there. It's like he could make another Black on Both Sides if he wanted to, but he's too busy acting in movies and indulging his inner Ol' Dirty.

Which is too bad, really.

[1] For what it's worth, at least Mos had a Katrina track out back when it counted, unlike some people we know...