Drake Responds To Yasiin Bey Saying He Is Not Hip-Hop

In the first month of the new year, one of the biggest stories came from clips from a Yasiin Bey interview. The artist formerly known as Mos Def made a rare media appearance on The Cutting Room Floor podcast. While there, in footage published last week, the Brooklyn, New York native and Black Star co-founder was asked about his thoughts on Drake. “Is Drake Hip-Hop,” host Omondi asked.

With a sigh and a pause, Yasiin reacted, “Why are you doing this to me?” in his non-speaking voice. The video clip circulated by The Cutting Room Floor features several cuts, while the full video episode lives behind a paywall. In the Instagram clip posted on their account, Yasiin then replied, “Drake is pop to me, in the sense like, if I was in Target in Houston and I heard a Drake song… it feels like a lot of his music is compatible with shopping.”

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Omondi laughs at Yasiin’s response, and then says, “commercial music.” Bey stays on his point: “Or, you know, shopping with an edge in certain instances.” The host reacts, “Fair. I like Drake’s music, but I understand exactly what you’re saying. It’s commercial, entertaining, fun, good, formulaic music,” she opines. “It’s likable,” Mos Def agrees. With a heavy breath, he repeats himself while looking away. Then, the former Rawkus Records star and onetime associate of Kanye West starts to laugh, prompting the host to say, “You know what? I’m gonna leave you alone. We’re gonna move…we’re gonna move on.”

Yasiin continues laughing, then exclaims, “Wooo! So many products!” The host piles on, “So many SKUs,” prompting Yasiin to echo that point about barcodes. “Look at all these SKUs! Oh, so many products…I love this mall! Look at this place. I mean, look at this place! They have everything! Everything’s here! They have everything here. Oh, this is great.” As with the top of the clip, Yasiin Bey appears to be using a character voice in his take. “This the new Drake. You hear it? It’s great.” In that moment, he switches back to his speaking voice. “Okay. What happens when this thing collapses?”

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In a more extended version of the clip (embedded above), Yasiin’s point expounds. “What happens when the columns start buckling? Are we not in some early stage of that, at this present hour? Are we seeing the collapse of the empire? Buying and selling, where’s the message that I can use? What’s in it for your audience apart from banging the pom-poms?”

There is an additional official clip from the fashion podcast that features Yasiin Bey expounding on the dangers of consumerism. While this clip does not feature Drake’s name, Yasiin alludes to lavish lifestyles and ostentatious spending as a result of perpetuating this style of thinking:

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This video and its viral circulation online have now received a response from Drake. On Instagram stories Monday night (January 15), Drake referenced one of Mos Def’s biggest solo songs, 1999’s “Umi Says.” “What umi say again? Lemme shine my light king don’t change up now.” He added a crying laughing emoji. The comment uses Yasiin’s positive lyrics about “shine your light on the world” and meshes them with a possible allusion to Mos Def singing on the Black On Both Sides Jazz-tinged single to expand his audience. Drake, known for confronting his critics, may also be warning not to change his position.

The OVO founder also included an IG link to vintage footage of Wu-Tang Clan MC Method Man saying, “Hip-Hop is a culture. It’s a way of life, the way you dress, the way you talk, the way you walk. It’s the break-dancing, rhymes, stage show, DJ, mixing and scratching, the wordplay. That’s Hip-Hop.”

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Both Yasiin and Drake found work as professional actors ahead of their music success. Both artists have used singing and melody as well as their talent as rappers.

In 2022, Yasiin Bey and Talib Kweli partnered with Madlib to release Black Star’s first album in nearly a quarter centuryNo Fear Of Time. During 2023, Drake released two editions of his For All The Dogs album, prompting several inclusions on the Ambrosia For Heads playlist:

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Criticism surrounding that album, particularly from Joe Budden, prompted Drake to publicly call out the MC-turned-member of the media, as well as on a new song.