One of the more elusive artists in recent years continues to prove unpredictable. Earlier this year, Yasiin Bey — the rapper and actor better known as Dante “Mos Def” Smith — canceled a string of scheduled U.S. dates. When the music festival Together Boston, where he’d been announced to perform, cited “immigration / legal issues” behind his cancellation, it prompted a flurry of headlines. Bey’s Black Star partner Talib Kweli slammed the reports as “unsubstantiated lies,” and Mos Def’s management, while mainly unresponsive to repeated requests for information, told me via email “it has been crazy these last couple of weeks,” adding that “right now is a difficult time for Yasiin.” Then, in June, Bey made an unannounced appearance with Kweli during a Dave Chappelle show at New York’s Radio City Music Hall.
Now, Mos Def has been announcing fresh concert dates even as he recently missed another show, once again without any clear explanation. Bey, who according to Kweli and Rolling Stone has been living in South Africa, has announced a handful of West Coast U.S. dates set for next month. He’s also slated to play shows in Australia and New Zealand later that month as part of the first annual Soulfest. Most recently, concert organizers announced he’d be marking the 15th anniversary of 1999′s landmark Black on Both Sides by performing the album in its entirety at a handful of U.K. dates. Check out his scheduled tour dates below.
In the meantime, it turns out Mos Def failed to appear for a scheduled concert last month in Singapore. According to his Facebook page, he was set to perform poolside on August 23 at HardRock Hotel Resorts World Singapore. After he didn’t show up, show organizers promised a full refund and said they were still awaiting an official statement from his management. “The fact is we received confirmation at 10:15pm from Yasiin’s management that he was unable to perform due to illness,” the organizers wrote on Facebook. DJ Neil Armstrong, who performed that night, later tweeted in reference to Mos Def, “man… he didn’t show up to our show out in Singapore, left shortkut and I with an angry crowd…” (Mos Def’s management didn’t immediately respond to our email requesting comment.)
That said, amid questions about Mos Def’s reported “immigration” problems, Mannie Fresh unveiled a new song from the formerly Brooklyn-based rapper, a collaboration with the New Orleans producer titled “Let’s Go.” On September 20, Ferrari Sheppard, a journalist and critic whose site, Stop Being Famous, lists Bey as a contributor, tweeted: “Yasiin Bey has been recording new music. I wrote a rock song & he recorded it last night. Broadcasting soon, #ACountryCalledEarth.” An oblique joke? Oh, perhaps. When it comes to Mos Def lately, though, it can be as if all bets are off.
Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) tour dates:
10/7 San Francisco, CA – Mezzanine
10/8 Seattle, WA – The Showbox
10/12 Santa Ana, CA – The Yost Theater
10/13 San Diego, CA – House of Blues
10/18 Sydney, AU – Soulfest
10/19 Melbourne, AU – Soulfest
10/25 Brisbane, AU – Soulfest
10/26 Auckland, NZ – Soulfest
11/14 Haarlem, NL – Patronaat, Grote Zaal
11/15 Brussels, BE – Ancienne Belgique
11/21 Leeds, UK – O2 Academy
11/22 London, UK – The Forum
11/27 Bristol, UK – O2 Academy Bristol