It’s been a decade since Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) put out his last release The Ecstatic, choosing to retire from the rap game several years later in 2016. Apparently he seems be moving toward coming out of retirement — but there’s a catch.
Music producer Steven Julien, announced on Twitter that there was a listening party of sorts for Def’s latest work Negus in Natural Person at the Art Basel installation in Hong Kong. And that was the only way the album could be heard.
In order to listen to Negus, it required attendees to be fully present in the moment sans any kind of cell phone distraction.
yasiin bey / mos def
produced by myself, lord tusk and acyde. pic.twitter.com/aG2htaq5jx
— Steven Julien (@FunkinEven) March 30, 2019
Negus is one of two studio albums Bey reportedly was set to complete but never did because he went into retirement.
Also, those who got the rare opportunity to attend had to be all in.
“Yasiin Bey is very aware of society’s inability to focus on anything because of technology,” wrote culture writer Ann Binlot who attended.
The album was released at the art installment “where the listeners had to actually focus on the music.” The music is not even available on streaming platforms.
Attendees were told to lock their phones before the album played too. Bey also took polaroid pictures of attendees of their reaction to his creative offering.
Binlot wrote that three of the songs on Negus are titled “Dream Study,” “Hemp,” and “Day Trippers.”
The rest of the song offerings remains a mystery to those who weren’t privy to be there.
Negus was new music to the attendees’ ears but it was recorded in 2015 in London before Bey went into retirement.