Yasiin Bey Couldn’t Care Less About How Badly You Want a New Black Star Album


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Yasiin Bey performs during the Black on Both Sides 20th Anniversary concert at The Greek Theatre on October 25, 2019 in Berkeley, California.Yasiin Bey performs during the Black on Both Sides 20th Anniversary concert at The Greek Theatre on October 25, 2019 in Berkeley, California.

Photo by Tim Mosenfelder via Getty Images

“You think you want the album more than us? Knock it off.”

It’s been years since Yasiin Bey and Talib Kweli announced a new Black Star album was in the works with Madlib at the helm. And while we’re likely closer than ever to that long-awaited release day, a firm date on the project’s arrival has yet to be uttered. But now, we may finally know just why the duo’s follow-up to the 1998 classic, Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star, is still missing in action.

In a newly released excerpt from an upcoming episode of Kweli’s The People’s Party podcast, Bey railed against the streaming industry and the incessant prodding of fans wondering when they’ll get to hear more Black Star over Madlib beats. “You mean to tell me that the source of labor at the center of this experience is supposed to be satisfied and grateful with receiving a portion of a penny for their efforts and labor?” Bey asked, pointing to a common critique of Spotify’s streaming payouts. The Black on Both Sides rapper went on to refer to streaming as a “colonial hangover” that undermines the creative control and financial solvency of artists, before turning his attention to the pressure fans are putting on the duo to release their new album.

“You motherfuckers don’t get to tell me what to do with what I make,” Bey fired off. “I’m not interested in my own misery. So I’m not interested in the misery that anybody’s trying to put on my back. If you’re trying to tell me that I got to put it out on your schedule and not get paid what it’s worth, but what you tell me it’s worth, then we’re always going to have a fucking problem,” the rapper says, assuring fans no matter how badly they want a sophomore Black Star album, he’s going to take his time bringing the project to a market rigged against the creators of its supply. For now we’ll have to settle with the morsels teased at Madlib DJ sets and the lone high-fidelity glimpse provided on the duo’s podcast with Dave Chappelle, The Midnight Miracle.

Watch Yasiin Bey lay out his case against the streaming landscape in an excerpt from his incoming appearance on The People’s Party podcast below. Hold tight for the full episode to drop on Monday morning.