Mos Def True Magic (Geffen) Although he first gained prominence as a rapper, Mos Def has become increasingly well-known for his acting rather than rhyming talents during the past couple of years. Assured turns in films such as The Woodsman and 16 Blocks, as well as an Emmy-nominated performance in the TV movie Something the Lord Made, suggested his future may be more lucratively spent in front of the camera than the microphone. On this, his third solo album, he slams that theory emphatically home. A largely torpid affair, True Magic starts in reasonable enough fashion with the relatively lively title track followed by the Grammy-nominated Undeniable, which features a Jimi Hendrix-esque guitar sample. Unfortunately, this is about as good as it gets. Crime and Medicine, for example, is essentially a cover of the 1995 single Liquid Swords from the Gza, albeit with different lyrics. Given that Mos doesn't come close to matching the Wu Tang man's lyrical intensity, you wonder why he bothered. Dollar Day is the by-the-numbers Hurricane Katrina track that's now nigh obligatory on hip hop albums, while Thug is a Drug is such a yawn that Mos is presumably referring to NyQuil. The all-too-brief Napoleon Dynamite, the soulful There is a Way and the jazz-funk of Sun, Moon and Stars hint that Mos Def can still cut it, but these moments are too few and far between. The lyrics, vocals and production on much of the rest of the set are lazy and uninspired. One possible explanation for this below-par outing is that this was the third record of a three-album deal Mos owed Geffen before quitting the label, making this the musical equivalent of homework hurriedly scribbled on the school bus.