Hip-hop star and accomplished rapper Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def) released a surprise single, “Basquiat Ghostwriter.” The two-minute and 22 second song is a somewhat frantic track, sounding more like an art song that a traditional rap track. After abruptly releasing the song on the free digital music host and app Soundcloud, Bey quickly followed up with a music video starring the art and moving images of the late New York artist and musician Jean Michel Basquiat. As the hip-hop star has been concentrating on acting and performing live over the past few years, he has yet to release a full-length follow up to his 2009 album, “The Ecstatic.”
Bey wrote an abstract and brief statement introducing the release of his single on an arts and culture website called “A Country Called Earth.” The statement was published as follows: “Good tidings in this season of the lion. Black August action. Peace. Happy Wednesday morning. In commemoration of the birth week of one Marcus Garvey, herein is an arrangement of visuals for the sonic composition ‘Basquiat Ghostwriter,’ directed and produced by A Country Called Earth. Special thanks to I. Attallihi, J. Cuba and S. bin Sharifu.
“FREE THE LAND.
We are already in outer space. The local time is always now. Free Shmurda. If you are reading this, you are already reading. Weappreciateyuh.
“Negus. Eternal pedigree. Noble Empire. So real. Surreal.
L T P F J. peace.”
Rolling Stone magazine reported, “Bey says the lyrics to ‘Basquiat Ghostwriter’ were also assembled from the artist’s paintings and notebook sketches.”
“Let us be reminded of Sandra Bland, Fegurson [sic], Baltimore and all the injustice of the world, as well as the beauty,” the rapper wrote in a statement announcing the track.”