Hip-hop star Yasiin Bey took the stage at the ONE Musicfest for what appeared to be the last performance of his career.
But the rapper also known as Mos Def said in a backstage interview with The Associated Press on Saturday night, he’ll continue creating and will return to the public spotlight in the future. He performed for more than an hour at the eighth annual ONE Musicfest in Atlanta, performing popular songs from “The New Danger,” ”UMI Says” to “Black Radio.”
“I enjoyed it today,” he said. “So if I get a chance to do it again in another way, I’ll just give it my all. I’m always going to be creating. … I’m not going to disappear if I stop rap or doing it in a certain type of way.”
Bey announced his retirement from the music and acting business after getting into a legal fight in South Africa. He was charged with trying to leave the country while using a passport not recognized by that country. He was ultimately allowed to leave but denied re-entry.
The 42-year-old rapper started his farewell concerts at the Apollo Theater in New York in late 2016, and then was supposed to have his final performance at the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. earlier this year.
However, ONE Musicfest founder Jason “J” Carter and other festival organizers helped convince Bey to perform in Atlanta after reaching out to the rapper’s lawyer and manager. Bey headlined the festival along with Jill Scott, Migos, Too $hort and Damien Marley.
Watching Bey’s performance was a proud moment, Carter said.
“It still hasn’t sunken in yet,” Carter said. “Just watching him onstage – his excitement and energy – it just looks like he would miss this entirely too much. If it is his final show, it was monumental. I would not be disappointed if it wasn’t just for who he is.”
Bey said performing felt “amazing,” but after being asked about his upcoming plans he said he wanted to focus on the moment.
“I’m just trying to get through today.” Bey said. “I’ve got plans. I’m just grateful to be alive to tell you the truth. I’ve got plans and things I’ve been working on but I’m just happy for today.”