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OKP Exclusive: Photographer Ralston Smith Captures Yasiin Bey Live In SF At 1015
OKP Exclusive: Photographer Ralston Smith Captures Yasiin Bey Live In SF At 1015

Stand Down: Yasiin Bey Cancels His Rap Battle Challenge

Lenny Kravitz, Grace Jones, Lauryn Hill, Lion Babe, Thundercat, SZA & More Rock The Afropunk Festival 2015 in Brooklyn, NY.

For those bowled over by Yasiin Bey's apparent über challenge to all of hip-hop, in which the globetrotting MC apparently challenged the entire world to a rap battle, it's time to pump the brakes. In a new interview with activist, critic and social media phenom Ferrari Shepard, the rapper once known as the Mighty Mos Def essentially cancelled his "challenge" and revealed that his videotaped battle cry was never intended for the public. For your reference, here's the video that started it all:

Despite claiming to be ready to battle "anyone, anywhere," in the Shepard interview, Bey walks it all back. "It was a private opinion made public. That's a violation," he said. Many had hoped Bey was calling for a sea change in the modern rap beef buzz, a turn away from pop bastions back toward the more contemplative rappers willing to duke it out for the sake of their craft. No dice.

One MC who quickly threw his cap in the battle ring was Lupe Fiasco, who posted an iphone screenshot of sketched-out bars that actually featured a great Meek Mill(er) "genuine draft" dig. Bey addressed him directly, commenting:

It don't got nothing to do with Lupe - Lupe you're cool do your thing man, there's no conflict over here man, or bonanza, or spectacle that I'm going to provide in that way, I'm not interested in that at all, but much success to you.

And so, it seems Mos isn't interested in "the mandingo tournament of rap," even claiming that he'd rather have a menial job at the post office than spend his time caught up in battle beef. Listen to the full audio interview below, and re-stash your A-game diss rhymes for another rainy day.