Last week, Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def) released a new song titled “Basquiat Ghostwriter,” an homage to the late contemporary artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. According to Stereogum, the song is ultimately inspired by his paintings and sketches and is certainly represented throughout the newly released video for the track.
The song, as well as the newly released music video for the track, pulls in reference to all mediums of Basquiat’s life’s work; showing footage of Basquiat walking around Manhattan and spraying graffiti art from the 1981 film Downtown 81 , mixed in with footage of Bey recording the song, professional wrestling and images of Basquiat art, all edited to be inverted.
Lyrics in the song, such as “Kayo in the Luna Park-” which is repeated throughout the entire song, come from the late artists’ poetry from his personal notebooks, all tying in the swimmingly executed tribute:
KAYO IN THE LUNA PARK
FREEZE FRAME ON A DRUNK IN THE PIAZZA
THAT’S WHAT WE HAVE FOR PIGEONS
LUMBERING ON ASPHALT FACEDOWN
LEAPSICKNESS THE LAW OF LIQUIDS.
Bey last released an album under Mos Def with 2009’s The Ecstatic. He retired working under the name ‘Mos Def’ in 2011 in an effort to “expand and move on.”
Check out the video for “Basquiat Ghostwriter” below.