Boy oh boy, is Mos Def – aka Yasiin Bey (and, if you want to get technical, Dante Terell Smith) – back with a bang. The rapper’s two latest musical offerings offer a short, sharp post-summer shock that prove he’s still very much in the game. The Brooklynite – who made his name with 90s group Urban Thermo Dynamics – is yet to throw in the towel, and only yesterday put on a wicked display with Texan pianist Robert Glasper and his Experiment side project and Tony Allen at Paris’ Jazz à la Villette festival. Just for fun, let’s take a bit of a trip down memory lane, and take a look at his career, which has also been filled with collaborations with names as big as his own, from De La Soul to Kanye West and Jay-Z.
Why not treat yourself, and check out what happened when Kanye West, Nas, De La Soul, will.i.am and Damon Albarn joined him for a freestyle at a party.
Mr Bey has never shied away from collaborations of all shapes and sizes. A case in point: this rather improbable – yet successful – appearance on The Black Keys’ 2009 Blackroc project, which saw him feature on « On The Vista » and « Ain’t Nothing Like You »
Similarly, 2010 saw him guest on the tracks « Stylo » and « Sweepstakes » from Gorillaz’s third studio album.
In 2012, he changed both his name and direction. And so, Mos Def was reborn as Yasiin Bey, joining a long line of US artists who have reinvented themselves time and again.
As summer gives way to autumn, the rapper, producer and sometime actor has premiered two new tunes online. The first, under his original alias, is entitled « Sensei on the block« . Fans of the fattest of beats are sure to appreciate the track, produced alongside his longtime collaborator Ski Beatz.
A few weeks prior to its release, he served up another nugget of newness, « Basquiat Ghostwriter » – a homage to Brooklyn artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, as you may have already gathered. Here’s the video for your viewing pleasure…
We’re on tenterhooks for the next release, which will hopefully be out before long. Til then, we’ve got these two latest cuts on repeat.