Yasiin Bey Announces Retirement, Details Treatment in South Africa in 10-Minute Message on Kanye West’s Website

By Sameer Rao Jan 20, 2016

Update, January 21, 2016 at 11.38 a.m. EST:

South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs director-general Mkuseli Apleni issued a statement yesterday (January 20) clarifying the charges against Bey. 


Yasiin Bey shed light on his detainment in South Africa, his new album and more in a bizarre, ten-minute message on Kanye West’s website. 

The message, which starts right when you open ‘Ye’s website (although you can listen to it here as well) begins with a freestyle to Kanye and Kendrick Lamar’s new collaboration "No More Parties in L.A." in which he raps the lyrics, "No more parties in S.A…. I committed no crime any place/Why these police up in my face" before elaborating on his situation in South Africa.

The artist formerly (and recently) known as Mos Def was arrested in Cape Town on January 14, when he allegedly attempted to depart using a fraudulent "World Passport." South African publication TimesLive cited a government official who said Bey was arrested for the passport issue and for allegedly keeping his wife and children in South Africa on an expired visa.

In statements to Okayafrica after the artist’s arrest, Bey’s representative insisted that the World Passport is a legitimate document issued by the World Service in support of the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights and that Bey’s understanding was that the passport would cause no problems. Although the document is issued by a pro-World Government advocacy organization, it is not connected to any internationally-recognized state. 

Bey’s freestyle elaborates a bit on his World Government beliefs when he raps, "A country called Earth, everywhere." Later, he emphasizes the World Passport’s legitimacy while also criticizing his and his family’s mistreatment by the South African government:

I have reason to believe or suspect that there are political motivations behind the way that I’m being treated, because this is following no reasonable strand of logic. And it’s also curious. I haven’t broken any law, and I’m being treated like a criminal. I know I’m not unique in that regard and I am grateful that I’m here with my family. I haven’t been physically harmed or anything like that. However, I have been detained. People in this state have taken punitive action against me unecessarily. There’s no reason I had to spend any time in a cell, there’s no reason I had to have police come to my house.

He goes on to explain that he is retiring from music and film, "effective immediately." He states that he will however release his last album this year, with prior teasers on his Instagram indicating possible collaborations with ‘Ye, Kendrick, J. Cole and Lupe Fiasco. 

Bey’s representative told Okayafrica that he was leaving the country to perform at the Selam Festival in Ethiopia. The rep also said that he was detained for two days before being released on bail.

(H/t Complex, Okayafrica, TimesLive