Don’t believe everything Pitchfork says. While they’re probably one of the best music publications out there, their review of Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def)’s December 99th doesn’t do justice to the sheer importance of Bey’s legacy in hip-hop and beyond. His work as one half of Black Star and as an incredible solo act on Black On Both Sides in the late 90s is a one-two punch to behold almost unlike anything else in hip-hop before or since.
After a long stint spent trapped in South Africa (which was at least partially his own fault – he was attempting to travel on a World Passport which wasn’t accepted by the South African government as a legitimate travel document), it’s nice to finally have a free Yasiin Bey, and his upcoming performance at Bristol’s O2 Academy on the 4th of February will only confirm that. Expect classics like Mathematics to rub up alongside tracks from his unfairly forgotten 2009 record The Ecstatic, and keep a special ear out for Auditorium. That track features an insane Madlib beat which would have been wasted on anyone else, but comes apart in Bey’s capable hands like putty. Don’t allow yourself to miss out on this, the man’s a legend.