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Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) & Ferrari Sheppard Drop More New Music From Cape Town, 'Dec. 99th – Tall Sleeves'

Earlier this month new music surfaced from Yasiin Bey (f.k.a. Mos Def) under the mysterious new moniker Dec. 99th. The track, titled “Dec. 99th – N.A.W.,” was produced by Bey’s A Country Called Earth co-founder Ferrari Sheppard and recorded over the course of a single day at D Planet Studios in Cape Town.


Dplanet is actually Human Waste of the Cape Town rap outfit DOOKOOM. In an email to Okayafrica, the Cape Town-based producer, who mixed and recorded the song, explained he was put in touch with Bey by a mutual friend who’s part of the same Muslim community as Bey in Cape Town. Sheppard contacted him a few days later to set up a recording session. “Yasiin is an artist who is never afraid to speak his mind, or to keep pushing his art” Dplanet said to us at the time. “When you meet him, he’s so humble it’s hard to remember that he’s a musical and cultural icon of our time. The fact that he has shunned the corporate music and film industries and is living in Cape Town, working with unknown artists and producers, is testimony to his dedication to his art.”

Recording live from D Planet Studios in Cape Town once again, Bey and Sheppard returned over the weekend with more new music as Dec. 99th. This one’s called “Tall Sleeves,” and it’s on the whimsical side.

No word on whether the two Dec. 99th tracks are part of a larger project or where they fit in the grand scheme of Bey’s final album plans.

Listen above.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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