A very lively and animated Yasiin Bey, formally known as Mos Def, walked center stage at The Shrine looked to a female fan and said, “Damn, I’m right here! I CAN HEAR YOU!,” regarding the fan’s request of Ms. Fat Booty. Although his acknowledgement to her was very humorous, it spoke volumes to the crowd’s hopes of the evening in question. We didn’t get what we asked for.
Like most who ventured to the Shrine that night anticipating a Mos Def show, I too was slightly disappointed when the alternative came to fruition.—a Yasiin Bey performance. While only true fans can recognize how important this name change is for Mr. Bey—a new style and a new attitude towards his music—we did not think he would use his time in Chicago to promote new material.
This disappointment was further facilitated by the Shrine’s lack of planning and preparation. The audience stood shoulder to shoulder throughout the entire show, making it difficult to rock out the 90s rap mix the DJ tried to rejuvenate us with between each opening act. It would have worked, too, if the intermissions weren’t 30-40 minutes apart.
After the prolonged waits, and semi-jam-sessions restlessness finally hit. Girlfriends took naps in their boyfriends’ arms until a new act came on stage; fans did the dead-foot two-step to alleviate leg pain; smokers delighted in their vices indoors to pass the time.
Yet, even a glass of Belvedere (the event’s sponsor) combined with ganja and a Dr. Scholl’s insert couldn’t make time go by any faster. When all we really wanted was Black Dante.
That is not to negate his good performance, though. As a matter of fact, it was pretty good. His sharp outfit was just the icing on the cake to his rather unique yet gratifying stage presence. Throughout the show he made jokes, sang oldies, cranked the Charleston, and gave us just a taste of what’s to be expected on his latest project “Yasiin Bey Presents…”
This was amplified by deep red lighting and an engaging performer who made sure that although the show he was giving might not have met our expectations, we would leave satisfied.
There is an important point to be made here. Whether we like it or not, what we knew as Mos Def doesn’t exist anymore. Although we wanted him to show up at the Shrine Thursday night, we quickly realized that wasn’t going to happen. True fans, however, should ultimately respect the rapper’s creativity and deal with the changes.