Yasiin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def, sat down with MSNBC’s Ari Melber to discuss his newest studio recording of yasiin bey: Negus, which is only offered offline. The Brooklyn rapper decided to create a fine art experience fused with hip hop curated at The Brooklyn Museum—not Spotify, Apple or any other streaming platform. 

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Negus, the exhibition acknowledges the importance of hip-hop as a fundamental American art form by making the 8-track, 28-minute recording available without the distractions of technology (upon entering the gallery, visitors are given a case in which to lock their mobile devices). In addition to Negus, the exhibition includes artworks by Ala Ebtekar, Julie Mehretu, and José Parlá created in collaboration with bey, as well as original music by celebrated pianist by Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou.

Negus (pronounced nuh-goose) takes its name from the word for “king” or “ruler” in Ge` ez, one of the ancient Semitic languages of Ethiopia. bey associates the term with Prince Alämayyähu Tewodros and others who have led noble lives, including Henrietta Lacks and Nipsey Hussle.


Bey reveals, “My proposal is that art is not just a fine art, it’s not limited or restricted solely to what you can hang on the wall, it includes music as well.  I had a strong feeling it needed to be a more dynamic experience than downloading it from an advice…”

Watch the interview below and CLICK HERE to get tickets to Yasiin Bey’s newest creative installment to hip hop.