Mos Def is an interesting guy. When I say interesting, I mean weird, awkward and uniquely entertaining in the best way - just to clarify.
Yasiin Bey, as he's referred to these days, had me right from 'Black On Both Sides'. For heads who don't know what I'm talking about, google 'Mathematics' and then continue feeling embarrassed about the fact you didn't recognise one of the dopest records of the '90s - in my opinion anyway. The Talib Kweli/Mos Def as Blackstar LP still gets solid rotation on my playlist, and only further cemented him as one of the most soulful and lyrically articulate characters to ever do it.
Monday night (October 20) did not disappoint in the slightest, although it did take me by surprise.
Yasiin takes the stage at 9:15pm, suited up, throwing rose petals out of his hat onto the floor as jazz tracks bang behind him. I could only laugh at how steezy this motherfucker was, and it set the mood for the rest of his set. He went on to dance and entertain over a lot of other jazz and soul sounds, while intertwining these segments with booming Brooklyn city tracks that he's been known for.
A tribute to the late Biggie Smalls took place, while Mos rapped the first verse of Juicy and dedicated it to 'Christopher'. 'Mathematics' shook the house, like I knew it would, but I felt a little let down that he didn't perform some more of his work from the Blackstar LP. One standout moment, and one of the most surprising, was his tribute to Tame Impala. He acknowledged that he loved the local vibe, but I never expected that.
That's what was so dope about the whole thing - it came out of left field. He was funny in parts, serious in others, spiritual and street - all at different times. His ability to engage a crowd and drift in and out of genres was too good to not acknowledge.
Mos Def or Yasiin Bey - whichever name is on your lips, it'll undoubtedly refer to one of the greatest emcees, entertainers and preachers of our time, and the one before us. The stage needs to see more like him.
(Photos courtesy of Faster Louder & inthemix.com.au)