Yasiin Bey’s ‘Basquiat Ghostwriter’ is Full of Unexpected Negatives (Video)

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Hi. We recently created AFH TV, Ambrosia For Heads’ streaming video service, because we believe real Hip-Hop deserves its own dedicated TV home. But, there are doubters, so, we need your help. If you have enjoyed anything on AFH over the last 7 years, we are asking you to subscribe to AFH TV. It is only $1.99/month or $12/year, and already features some amazing content, but the best is yet to come. Thank you for all of your support.

Yasiin Bey (pka Mos Def) has released a music video to accompany “Basquiat Ghostwriter,” a song he dropped just a few days ago that took many Heads by surprise. The Brooklyn MC hasn’t released a solo album since 2009’s The Ecstatic and in the years since he’s spent much time abroad, remaining mostly under the radar but continuing to share aspects of his personal and spiritual journey. He recently resurfaced in unexpected ways, first as news spread of his venture into stand-up comedy and then again after challenging any MC to a freestyle battle, a proposal which he then explained was never meant to be circulated to the public. Nevertheless, Heads were justifiably excited to hear from him, and the release of new music has added much to the rumors that more material could be on the horizon.

While his formal return into music has been the source of much speculation, there is one aspect of his recent behavior that carries with it the ring of familiarity. Bey has continued a tradition that has long since been consistent in his music even if his rate of output has been comparatively spotty. “Basquiat Ghostwriter” is a progressive, unrelenting critique of injustice in which he references Ferguson, Baltimore, and the victims of negligence and brutality at the hands of police. He has now put forth a corresponding music video, one that opts for a camera filter that creates the effect of negatives, perhaps to allude to the ghostly connotation of a ghostwriter, perhaps to force the audience to pay closer attention to the incorporated imagery which includes scenes of Jean-Michel Basquiat creating his now-famous artwork, a sign representing the Love Truth Peace Freedom Justice trademark of the Moorish Science Temple of America, footage of Bey in the booth, and a melange of other images seemingly meant to incite speculation and critical thinking.

The aesthetics of the new video are reminiscent of those of “Niggas in Poorest,” the visual aid to his rendition of Jay Z & Kanye West’s 2011 juggernaut “Niggas in Paris.” Check out the video for “Basquiat Ghostwriter” right here.

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