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Yasiin Bey Has Three New Albums On the Way, Plays a New Song at Art Basel

In an interview with WNAL at Miami's Art Basel, Yasiin Bey reveals that he plans to release three new albums before his retirement.

This Friday, December 9th, Yasiin Bey is due to release a new album as Dec. 99th, his collaboration project with Ferrari Sheppard.


Well, in an interview with WNAL at Miami's Art Basel (via Pitchfork), the man formerly-known-as Mos Def has revealed that he also plans to release two additional new albums: the Mannie Fresh-produced As Promised and another record, Negus in Natural Person. 

That means we could have three new albums from Yasiin Bey before his well-announced retirement. Though no dates have been confirmed for As Promised and Negus in Natural Person.

As Okayplayer reports, Yasiin also performed a new track over the weekend at Art Basel. Okayplayer writes:

All eyes are on Yasiin Bey this week as the artist formerly known as Mos Def readies his grand exit from the bidness. But just before we wave goodbye to the as-of-late reclusive great, he’s graced us with some newness during a recent performance at Boiler Room‘s Saul Williams-presented 'In Appreciation of Lyricism' event at Art Basel this past weekend, where he performed a breezy new cut, which we can only assume will be on one his three new albums on the way (promising to perform them at his rapidly approaching final shows at the Kennedy Center and The Apollo Theater.

Watch video of the event below. Yasiin's performance starts at around the 5-hour, 12-minute mark.

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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