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Screen shot 2023 01 23 at 1 53 44 pm
Photo Credit: Triple J

Watch Joey Bada$$ Cover Mos Def's Classic "Umi Says"

While visiting Australian radio station Triple J, Joey Bada$$ performed a cover of Mos Def's 1999 classic "Umi Says."

Joey Bada$$ homaged fellow Brooklyn emcee Yasiin Bey aka Mos Def during a special performance on Australian radio station Triple J’s Like a Version series. With a live band featuring Melbourne singer KYE, Joey gave a smooth take of "Umi Says," which appeared on Mos Def's debut album Back on Both Sides.

In a post-performance interview, Joey shared more about "Umi Says" being one of his all-time favorite songs.

“It’s such a spiritual connection that I have to this song,” he shared. “I feel like I could almost relate to what Mos Def is speaking on. As an artist I can tell this was a song that wasn’t written. This was a song that truly just felt, you know what I’m saying? And that’s probably what I admired about it the most.”

Joey continued, “I think it’s one of those songs that immediately follows the experience that inspired it. Whether he spoke to his homie and went to the studio that same day or he went the next day or the week after, either way, you can tell that moment resonated with him deeply and it opened him up.”

“We have blocks emotionally, spiritually, mentally and this song just feels like a moment in Mos Def’s life where a block was lifted for him, you know what I’m saying? Because sometimes we feel like we need permission to share our light.”

Released on October 12, 1999 via Rawkus Records and Priority Records, Black On Both Sides was helmed by singles "Ms. Fat Booty," "Mathematics" and "Umi Says." The following year, the album was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Watch Joey's interview with Triple J below.