Yasiin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def, has been making waves in South Africa of late serving up his musical stylings in collaboration with Canadian group Bad Bad Not Good at the South African International Jazz festival. All this is leading to his imminent retirement from the music industry and eventual final album, so if you were lucky enough to be there live, then envy is coursing through our veins as we’ve only managed to glimpse performances via sneaky videos like the one below. But video quality aside, Bey’s steady vocals overlaying the smooth melodic beat laid down by BBNG makes the performance of ‘Arcade’ one filled with good vibes combined with a hint of melancholy.
Yasiin and BBNG treated their audience to six songs that night, which included three by the Brooklyn MC himself and ‘Buggin’ Out’ as a tribute to the late Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest with BBNG stating “It was an incredible experience”. Ferrari Sheppard, a longtime collaborator of the rapper and A Country Called Earth co-founder, joined them on stage, painting to the left of the stage.
As well as the live performance of ‘Arcade’, Yasiin Bey has been covertly dropping experimental tracks under the project ‘Dec 99th’, including ‘N.A.W.’, ‘Tall Sleeves’, and ‘Local Time’. It’s all adding fuel to the fire in the lead-up to Bey’s new album and we’ll definitely be keeping an eye on developments as they come.
- Words: Bolaji Teniola