Mos Def reacts to Trayvon Verdict during Vancouver show [Review]
Vancouver, BC – Sunday night Yasiin Bey, aka Mos Def, wrapped up the West coast leg of his mini concert series at Vancouver’s Vogue Theatre. With the Trayvon Martin case verdict in, the tour’s timing was the perfect coincidence for the social activist, who used the power of his mic to speak out against the unjust verdict.
The night opened with local Brazilian band Batuque Axè, who brought in a vibrant group of samba girls, and r&b & hip-hop artist MC Poppy Seed. Both acts were an odd pairing as openers for Bey, but they killed it nonetheless. Dressed like a middle eastern man in a white robe, cap, and scarf, Yasiin Bey walked onto stage unannounced. The low cheers of excitement made it obvious that tonight’s crowd had either smoked too much BC bud, or was just plain awful. For the sake of Vancouver’s reputation, let’s hope it was the former.
Kicking things off with his verse on Kanye’s “Lord, Lord, Lord”, the MC spit through “Pretty Dancer”, “Casa Bey”, and “Priority Scrutiny” before covering Biggie’s “Juicy”. Some of the lyrics in every song he performed were spun around to protest for Trayvon. Belting “Waaaake Uppppp” in a thunderous voice, Bey preached, “Life is not meant to be miserable. Life is an experience of joy. Life is not meant for misery. Life is not meant for slavery or misery. Life is an experience of joy. And not the fake joy you think you put in a pack or a pill or a bottle. Real joy people; don’t let these thieves steal your happiness or your joy”.
At some point into the night, the DJ put on Tame Impala’s “Alter Ego”, and Mos broke out in dance. The crowd went from confused to awkward, and then amused to bored. It appeared as if an unknown force had taken over him, and while the dance moves were definitely impressive coming from him, it was still a ‘wtf is happening’ moment.
Finishing up his act with “Cream of the Planet”, “If You Can Huh! You Can Hear”, and “Umi”, the rapper shared some more words of wisdom before he performed his last couple of songs, “I’m a people person, but people ruin that. Sometimes I don’t know what to do but tonight I’m going to say whatever the fuck I want to say. They shot my little man Trayvon. It’s time to laugh and it’s time to motherfucking cry…Forgive me for what they say”.
The dance moves were entertaining and the dialogues necessary, but we were also here to watch one of the most well respected hip-hop veterans in the game make us nostalgic for an era that the world seemed to have forgotten about. From the thought-provoking bars to an audience with a genuine passion for music, every element for a kick-ass concert was present, but a bit of longing was still felt. Maybe it was because Mos wasn’t feeling the crowd – it was embarrassingly weak – or maybe I’m just a stubborn fan who needs to let go of Mos Def in order to accept Yassin Bey. Regardless, Bey still accomplished his mission; the audience left the concert thrilled and above all inspired.