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We Watched Yasiin Bey’s (Mos Def) J Dilla Tribute Show! | Live Review

Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) paid homage to to legendary Hip-Hop producer J Dilla at London’s indig02. Read what we thought of the show here.

Source: Promo

Source: Promo

Last November we went to experience the chic and cool-headed Yasiin Bey perform his classic debut album ‘Black On Both Sides‘ at the Bristol O2 Academy. Now six months later, Bey has announced that he would be paying homage to one of the most celebrated and easily one of the most loved hip hop producers of all time, J Dilla.

While his Bristol performance really felt like a special event, maybe due to the very tall and strict venue that is the Bristol O2, or the cliche classiness of his debut project that he was performing, his London performance looked to be more intimate and harmonious. Though this tribute performance to Dilla, by a well-known friend of the great man, was is always going to be something different, maybe even slightly more special.

Bey does not emerge into the humid arena that was once the infamous millennium dome until approximately half past ten. As usual he enters the stage to atmospheric, mumbling music, with the entire room drenched in red light while he sprinkles rose petals on to the stage and the crowd. Now this is nothing new from a Yasiin Bey show, however it seems to attach itself to the somewhat extra sentiment of the night.

Before the show the people on the tube to Greenwich, the people queuing up for their tickets and even the group of smokers outside of the O2 all seemed to be discussing exactly what Bey was going to deliver and how was this set going to be structured. Was it just going to be covers of the original tracks or would Bey give it a twist? Bey answered this quickly dropping Dilla’sStop‘ from the legendary ‘Donuts‘ album while performing his jazzy ‘Ms Fat Booty‘ over the top.

This feel sets the trend as Bey’s DJ’s play through elements of ‘Donuts‘ and Dilla’s original hip hop trilogy group Slum Village. They even drop into beats Dilla produced for Common and Busta Rhymes.

Even though throughout the build up we wanted to hear Bey spit some bars by A Tribe Called Quest or Common or even Dilla himself, it definitely resulted in a much better tribute that he kept to his own lyrics and found the perfect way to compliant the beautiful, numb sounds of Dilla. That is what Dilla is all about, his beats were not always made for a specific rapper, a specific group or even a specific theme. Therefore, Bey executes the tribute perfectly.

Bey managed to bring a legend back from the dead for an hour and fifteen minutes and gave a room full of people, many of whom would have never had the chance to experience first hand, a taste of what was taken from this planet way too early. The sets main problem? It was over too quickly.

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