Yasiin Bey Will Perform Mysterious Mannie Fresh Collab, And Another Album, At Apollo

William Ketchum III is a journalist who covers music, pop culture, film/TV, race,…
Watch Yasiin Bey x Robert Glasper Perform De La Soul's "Stakes Is High" Live In Paris + Exclusive Photos & Recap [photographed by Mr. Mass for Okayplayer]Yasiin Bey has revealed another surprise for his fans: live music from two more albums, including the mystical album with producer Mannie Fresh.

Bey, formerly known as Mos Def, popped up in Miami for the annual Art Basel International Art Fair. In an interview on WNL Radio on Saturday, he announced that he would be performing songs from two additional projects later this month.

“I will be premiering my new album, Negus In Natural Person, and me and Mannie Fresh’s project, which is called As Promised, at The Apollo on December 21,” he said. Bey then proceeded to debut new music on the air.

Friend and collaborator Ferrari Sheppard confirmed to Okayplayer that Bey “will perform Negus and Mannie, some songs from the albums at least. No release date for the albums. They are complete.”

For everyone keeping count, that appears to be three new albums on the way: his Dec. 99th album with Sheppard on Tidal on Friday, Dec. 9, Negus In Natural Person, and the Mannie Fresh-produced As Promised. Bey has released several loosie songs in recent years, including several with Sheppard in 2016. But the last solo album we have from Bey was The Ecstatic in 2009, when he still went by the name Mos Def. Now, it appears that he will end his career with a final act of three projects.

The Mannie Fresh and Yasiin Bey record has been a mysterious album that fans have clamored for. In 2012, a website surfaced with videos of them hanging out and working together in New Orleans. The new duo was named OMFGOD, and the upcoming album was called OMFGODBKNOLA. They later released two songs, “Black Jesus” and “Let’s Go,” but nothing else. With Bey’s constantly-shifting interests and no updates on its release, it seemed that the album would never see the light of day.

In a 2014 interview with Microphone Check (around the 32-minute mark), Mannie Fresh described the process of working with Yasiin Bey.

“We have to listen to him talk for about two or three hours about life. We got to let him get it all out,” Mannie laughed. “He has to give us all of his conspiracy theories and all of that and all of this. Then we like, ‘OK, dude, you good? You ready?’ He’s like, ‘OK, I’m ready.’ … It’s weird, his process, but I get it.”

In late January, in a voice message released by friend and collaborator Kanye West, Yasiin Bey announced his pending retirement from music. Since finally being allowed to leave South Africa after travel restrictions kept him in the country for months, he announced the Dec. 99th album and his final shows in the United States: Apollo Theater on Wednesday, Dec. 21, and at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. from Saturday, Dec. 31 through Monday, Jan. 2, 2017.

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