Kanye West Shares Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) Rap on South Africa Arrest and Retirement Plans

Ollie Millington/Redferns via Getty Images
Mos Def Performs onstage during a Black Star set on day 1 of Wireless Festival 2015 at Finsbury Park on June 28, 2015 in London, England.  

Yasiin Bey, the rapper-actor-activist (and sometime comedian) formerly known as Mos Def, is still being detained in South Africa after attempting to leave the country last week using a "world passport." But with the help of Kanye West, he’s got word out on his situation. 

Kanye’s official Website is hosting an audio message which opens with a Bey freestyle and follows with a lengthy spiel in which the Brooklyn artist discusses his arrest, proposes conspiracy theories and makes a pledge to leave the music biz. 

Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) Arrested in South Africa for Violating Local Immigration Laws

Bey begins by busting out a rap on his grounding, which references Kanye’s recent songs “Real Friends” and “No More Parties In LA.

“I committed no crime, why is the state wasting my time,” he raps early on, before thanking West for “being a real friend." 

Bey’s tone changes, as the artist walks us through his situation. He claims he’s being prevented from leaving, and that the authorities want to deport his family. And he denies that the “world passport” is a “fictitious document.” “I am not a liar,” he attests. 

The 43-year-old rapper was arrested at Cape Town International Airport last Thursday (Jan. 14) for violating local immigration laws.  Should Bey (real name Dante Smith) receive a court order to leave the country, it could mean a ban of up to five years from South Africa. He could also appeal to officials for leniency. 

Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) Talks Kanye, Drake & Caitlyn Jenner at First Standup Show 

Though he hasn’t been physically harmed, Bey suggests in his message that “political motivations” are to blame for his circumstances. “I haven’t broken any law but I’m being treated like a criminal,” he adds. 

Bey also says he wants out of showbiz. “I’m retiring from the music recording industry as it is currently assembled today, and also from Hollywood, effective immediately. I’m releasing my final album this year. And that’s that.” 

Listen to the audio here.