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Issue 1092

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Yasiin Bey + Ocean Wisdom: Forum Kentish Town, London 14/4/19

Yasiin Bey (fka Mos Def): Forum Kentish Town, London 14/4/19 @bluesandsoul.com
Yasiin Bey (fka Mos Def): Forum Kentish Town, London 14/4/19 @bluesandsoul.com Yasiin Bey (fka Mos Def): Forum Kentish Town, London 14/4/19 @bluesandsoul.com Ocean Wisdom: Forum Kentish Town, London 14/4/19 @bluesandsoul.com Ocean Wisdom: Forum Kentish Town, London 14/4/19 @bluesandsoul.com Yasiin Bey (fka Mos Def) + Ocean Wisdom: Forum Kentish Town, London 14/4/19 Ocean Wisdom: Forum Kentish Town, London 14/4/19 @bluesandsoul.com Yasiin Bey (fka Mos Def) + Ocean Wisdom: Forum Kentish Town, London 14/4/19 Ocean Wisdom: Forum Kentish Town, London 14/4/19 @bluesandsoul.com Yasiin Bey (fka Mos Def) + Ocean Wisdom: Forum Kentish Town, London 14-4-19 (i

If there's one thing about Yasiin Bey - the artist formerly known as Mos Def - it's that he's consistently inconsistent. In recent years he's been something of a mainstay in London, both performing solo and with Black Star companion Talib Kweli. And while his laid-back delivery has earned him deserved "legend" status on record, in front of an audience he remains a mixed bag.

Last year with Robert Glasper he was scintillating, the bandleader and his jazz trio keeping Bey focused. But on other occasions, his shows have seen somewhat disjointed.

There was reward for those who arrived early, with one of UK hip-hop's bright hopes, Ocean Wisdom, showing off his breakneck flow and demonstrating why he's so highly rated.

Versions of "Revvin" and Method Man collaboration "Ting Dun" show why Ocean Wisdom is one of the country's most exciting artists.

His high energy set, limited to around half an hour, gets the crowd buzzing, but when Bey takes the stage there's an entirely different vibe.
With no lights on the front of the stage, many in the crowd struggled to see what he was doing as he sprinkled rose petals and spray painted something on the front of the DJ booth.

We later learned he'd written "oyster", but it's not entirely clear why.
An early version of "Auditorium" shows he's still got it, but there were arguably too many long interludes between tracks, one of which saw him repeatedly spinning around as the audience watched on bemused.
The set was billed as a celebration of classic record "The Ecstatic", which provided much of the material.

But unsurprisingly the brilliant "Umi Says", "Ms Fat Booty" and a surprisingly electronic version of "Rock N Roll" were also played out.
Bey delivered a number of poetry recitals in between tracks too. Maybe the venue was just a bit too big for the intimacy he was trying to create, or the crowd a bit too chatty but maybe it could have benefited from some fine-tuning.

There's no doubting that Yasiin Bey/Mos Def is one of the great creative forces ever to grace the hip-hop scene. But on this occasion, it was the support act who really caught the eye.

PHOTOS: DAVE BURKE
Words Dave Burke

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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