Back in 2016, Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def) announced his retirement from music after some legal trouble in South Africa. Now, however, it seems that he’s ready to come back to music, and he’s doing it by reuniting with his Black Star partner Talib Kweli.
Bey made a surprise appearance at a Madlib DJ set at the Ogden Theater in Denver on Saturday, after a performance with Kweli to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the only Black Star album, Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star. A 20th anniversary album would make sense if Bey is looking to rap again, and he said that’s exactly what they’re working on: “New Black Star with Madlib, Talib Kweli, Yasiin, comin’ soon! All Madlib, all day. New Black Star, 2018. Madlib Black Star, Madlib Black Star.”
It appears that this was more than Bey getting caught up in the moment and saying something he doesn’t mean, since, according to the Soundcloud description of the audio above, that brief recording is “the first of several times Yasiin Bey mentioned a Madlib x Blackstar full length LP dropping in 2018.”
It also looks like Kanye West could be involved in this comeback album, since Kweli recently posted a photo of Kanye and Bey and captioned it, “2018 is looking good…” There’s context for Kanye playing a role in this, considering that both Bey and Kweli appeared on Kanye’s debut album The College Dropout, and Kanye has worked with both of them on other occasions since then. If this does end up happening, it would be Bey’s first new album since his 2009 solo release The Ecstatic.