Yasiin Bey Uses Basquiat as His Ghostwriter For an Inspired Song About Injustice & Hope (Audio)

For years, Yasiin Bey (pka Mos Def) has shown he is an artist who walks his own path. Whether advocating for social justice or lyrically taking out sucker MCs, he has proven to be equally adept. After a private video where he challenged the entire industry to battle himself, King Los and Black Thought was leaked and caused a social media stir last week, he returns to address much weightier matters.

“Basquiat Ghostwriter” is a stream of consciousness that is one-part rap, one-part spoken word, and touches on a number of significant events that have unfolded over the last several months. Astutely seizing on the current frenzy around ghostwriting, Bey uses the music and art of Jean-Michel Basquiat as inspiration for the song. Yasiin elaborated on its genesis in a published statement: “No rap circuses. A Country Called Earth. Free the land. Love and respect to the Basquiat family and Mr. W.F. Flame. Let us be reminded of Sandra bland, Fegurson, Baltimore, and all the injustice of the world, as well as the beauty. Respect to the family of Sean Price and Brooklyn, from which I and Jean-Michel are from. Eternal love to my city. God bless the soul and keeping living, even when we die, we wont stay dead.Lyrics by Yasiin Bey, Music by Jean-Michel Basquiat’s band Gray, off of their album Shades Of, originally recorded between 1979-1981. Lyrics taken from Jean-Michel’s paintings, graffiti and notebook sketches. Make peace and be grateful. L T P F J” – Yasiin Bey

With artists like Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Run the Jewels and Bey creating art to interpret the world rather than chasing hits, do you sense a shift in Hip-Hop?

Related: Yasiin Bey Clarifies His Rap Challenge & Questions Hip-Hop’s Battling Tradition (Audio)