Mos Def was without exaggeration one of the primary reasons I fell in love with hip-hop, and so while his musical output has slowed considerably following his name change to Yasiin Bey and his pursuit of other artistic endeavors, I've continued to follow his moves closely.
But I recognize that not everyone has the time to read about their favorite rappers for a living, so in light of some very big news in the world of Bey, I thought we'd do a quick question and answer session to get caught up.
Wait, What Happened Again?
Bey had been living in South Africa since 2013 using a "World Passport," a passport that many countries don't recognize as being a legitimate travel document or form of identity. The South African government had arrested him, charged him with fraud, then released him on house arrest and refused to allow him to leave the country.
Gotcha, So What's New?
The government has withdrawn all charges after Bey apparently apologized to them without reservation and are now allowing him to leave the country, although he won't be let back into South Africa. Whether that means Bey will be returning to the U.S., to France (where he lived for some time) or a destination as yet unknown remains to be seen.
What's That Mean for New Music?
This international legal battle seems to overshadowed the fact that, in the midst of the initial arrest, Bey announced that he would be releasing one more album by the end of 2016 and then retiring.
Now, Bey may be an extraordinary rapper on many levels, but he's still a rapper, so take his claims of retirement with a grain of salt. But the fact remains that while we don't yet know what this will mean in terms of the albums release, we have to assume it's a good thing and the hip-hop world should feel justified in eagerly anticipating a farewell project from one of the greatest emcees of all-time. [Although you might also want to shed a tear for the Bey x Mannie Fresh project that it seems less and less likely will ever see the light of day.]
Go ahead, don't hold back, get excited.
By Nathan S, occasional keyboard hitter and beard maintainer. This is his Twitter.
Photo Credit: Instagram