This Yasiin Bey article was written by Daniel Kirby, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Stephen Butchard.
Rapper, actor and activist Yasiin Bey is scheduled to play a one-off show with the seven-piece, Chicago-based band The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble at London’s O2 Forum on Friday, October 14th.
Yasiin Bey began his hip hop career as Mos Def in 1994, subsequently forming Black Star with rapper Talib Kweli and producer Hi-Tek. The trio would release only one album together, the underground classic ‘Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star’ in 1998.
His solo debut, ‘Black on Both Sides’, would arrive the following year. Known for its conscious lyrics and created using live instrumentation, it was quickly hailed as a classic album, leading Mos Def to be considered among hip hop’s finest MC’s.
After releasing three more albums as Mos Def, including ‘The Ecstatic’ in 2009, he changed his name to Yasiin Bey in mid-2013 and has since become known for speaking out on social and political issues effecting African-Americans.
Yasiin Bey will perform re-worked versions of his back catalogue with The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, made up of seven sons of the legendary jazz trumpeter Kehlan Phil Cohran, known for his work with Earth Wind & Fire, Chaka Khan and Sun Ra.