Following his long-awaited homecoming to the United States in November, Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def) returned to the music world Wednesday with December 99th, his latest album in seven years. While most fans will likely come to it to hear Bey's signature flows, the project is technically the debut of hip-hop duo Dec 99th, which the rapper formed with producer Ferrari Sheppard.
Back in February, via a recording hosted on KanyeWest.com, Bey said that he would be releasing his final album this year.
"I'm retiring from the music recording industry as it is currently assembled today, and also from Hollywood, effective immediately," Bey said at the end of his West recording. "I'm releasing my final album this year, and that's that."
In October, he repeated his commitment to retirement from music and films during a Facebook Live broadcast, saying that he'll be "moving onto other things, still being creative," according to Pitchfork. "You know, definitely fashion, textiles and just art. Whatever I can create that's beautiful and useful, that's what I wanna do."
Yet, he's since announced two more albums: one called Negus In Natural Person, and a collaborative project with Mannie Fresh, called As Promised.
December 99th was reportedly recorded in South Africa, according to a tweet from Tidal. Bey has been living in Cape Town since at least 2013, though he's been in limbo after being arrested for trying to leave the country using a "world passport," a travel document that isn't honored by South Africa's homeland security. He was allowed to leave the country earlier this year using a U.S. passport.
Earlier this year, Dec 99th released their first single, "Hymn," on Tidal, though the song didn't make the final cut of the album. December 99th includes 10 tracks and no features, a similar layout to J. Cole's 4 Your Eyez Only, currently the number one album on the Billboard 200. Check out the track list for December 99th below.
2. Blade In The Pocket
4. Local Time
5. Tall Sleeves
6. Seaside Panic Room
7. Shadow In the Dark
8. It Goes
9. Special Dedication