Yasiin Bey : the artist formely known as Mos Def | Electric Picnic

What’s in a name change?

Artist: Yasiin Bey

Venue: Rankins' Wood

Date Reviewed: September 6th, 2015

What's in a name change? During a brief and sometimes bumbling set, the rap star makes it clear. “My name is Yasiin Bey,” he says. “Mos Def is something Yasiin Bey created.” Mos Def is no more, but Bey certainly doesn’t lack conviction, talking about himself in the first, third and even fourth person. In truth, the only confusing thing is his attitude towards his back catalogue.

With Preservation as his DJ, and everyone here as his hype man, Bey prowls through Twilite Speedball over ominous brass and vintage projections of Patrick’s Day and Mardi Gras. More unceremoniously, though, his early breakthrough Mathematics is jettisoned after barely a minute. There are fresher pleasures, such as the Bollywood-sampling remix of Auditorium, for which he delicately crumbles up rose petals, but that’s about as far as the effort will go. “I ain’t no perfect man,” he rhymes on Umi Says. You don’t rush to contradict him.


In Three Words: Slightly Less Def