New York City based rapper Yasiin Bey, who was formerly known as Mos Def has released his first album in over a decade, however this album is not available for purchase, as of press time. This project can only be heard at a unique art exhibition titled yasiin bey: Negus, which runs through January 26 at the Brooklyn Museum at 200 Eastern Pkwy, Brooklyn, NY 11238.
yasiin bey: Negus, is a multimedia hip-hop experience, consisting of music and murals from contemporary artists Ala Ebtekar, Julie Mehretu, José Parlá, along with visual works by Bey himself. This 28-minute album is played through a set of wireless headphones given out to the museum’s patrons.
Negus was originally announced as completed back in 2016, upon the rapper’s return from South Africa and was accompanied with the announcement of another unreleased project As Promised. The project premiered at the museum exhibit reportedly contains 8-tracks, made by the performer “without the distractions of technology.”
The exhibit’s captions reportedly state that it seeks to “reimagine the possibilities of hip-hop as an art form.” One of the murals is also shown as a “constellation of historical and contemporary figures who, from the artist’s point of view, have led noble lives,” which includes peoples such as the late rapper Nipsey Hussle, groundbreaking cancer patient Henrietta Lacks, and Ethiopian nun pianist Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou, whose original compositions report4edly play through the headphones before the Negus album begins.
The word “negus” means “king” or “ruler” in Ge’ez, an ancient Ethiopian language, which is associated with the story of Bey’s album, which tells the story of of a 19th-century Ethiopian prince named Alemayehu Tewodros.