After problems with passports, alleged final concerts and retirement plans, it’s absolutely wonderful to have some new music from Yasiin Bey (Mos Def). December 99th, a collaborative effort with artist Ferrari Sheppard, had been promoted for some time and now it is finally here via TIDAL. And in general it’s a dark and low key affair. Bey doesn’t dip into the same vocal pyrotechnics he once frequently did. Instead he’s content to just let the beat breathe and stretch out over it.
On the opaque burble of “Blade in the Pocket” he’s not so much rapping as he is delivering incantatory pleas. These are views from the departed. Dispatches sent by those who have been down and are struggling with all of their might to get up. Ultimately, that’s why hearing some new work from Bey is terrific. It doesn’t matter that we get new and shiny work from an all-timer, it matters that he’s firmly on two feet and doing his damn thing.
(You can exclusively stream December 99th through TIDAL now and check out “Blade in the Pocket” here.)