The legendary MC talks “Mos Def” as a commodity and cannabis legalization in this one-on-one for PDA
Yasiin Bey is one of the few artists that can be called a true MC, even when using his former stage moniker Mos Def. He has never withered in the limelight or chased the changing fads, you’ll never see Yasiin being anything but Yasiin whether on the silver screen or youtube footage.
“I can show you better than I can say,” Yasiin says in his typical reserved delivery. “I’ve seen hip-hop go through a lot of transformations. New cats come in, new cats come out, but only a few get to say they left a footprint. I’ve poured everything into hip-hop. All I can hope is to be remembered… to leave a footprint.”
He arrives at the next chapter equipped with new music and a name change. Although there is still plenty to recognize for us long time fans at 4E.
“Lets see, what’s new since the last time we spoke? My family and friends have been calling me ‘Yasiin’ for awhile now, I just finally made it official with the world,” he explains poetically. “The name it self has religious meaning, ya know. But I also started to feel like ‘Mos Def’ was loosing its meaning. Not to me, but to those people who started seeing and using it, as a product. I can’t stand for that.”
It’s not always easy seeing great artists in concert in the Northwest. We have had to go out of town, or curse the tour managers and labels for their decision to bypass our market. However, Yasiin has made it a point to keep Seattle as a regular booking when on the road, and says attitudes towards our little corner of the country are changing.
“There are only a few cities I hold close to my heart, like New Orleans for example,” Yasiin states emphatically. “So after touring here a few times, I’ve been opening my heart to Seattle. It’s something about the fans in this city, they know how to make you excited on stage. I’ve never had a dull show in Seattle. I’ve never heard another MC say they had a dull show in Seattle!”
“It used to be that you hardly heard MC’s say they were touring here. Now its almost mandatory like New York,” he continues. “Shit now weed is legal here too, its a refreshing trip every time.”
In an industry that has become ideologically monopolized, with artists exclusively promoting an unrealistic mindset of money, cars and hoes – Yasiin is the counter-point. His songs will never grow old, neither will the impact of his message. He lights a lyrical path back to the true origins of hip-hop, a path back to what’s real.
– Elisa Beall
Yasiin Bey plays word vomit with PDA
As I’m exhaling I’m thinking…
“About inhaling again.”
A decision to change names signifies…
“Spiritual growth, religious freedom, ancestral identification.”
There will be no freedom for cannabis users until…
“Laws and politics have no say or part with it.”
Hip Hop is not dead its…
“Like a horror scene. The honest MCs fighting amongst the posers, the zombies. It’s not dead but it is fighting not to get infected.”