Single Review: Yasiin Bey revives classic Mos Def beats in 'The Light Is Not Afraid of the Dark'


By Shamik Ganguly, Daily Arts Writer
Published April 11, 2013

“The Light Is Not Afraid of the Dark”
Yasiin Bey
Produced by Kanye West

Yasiin Bey Produced by Kanye West

"The Light Is Not Afraid of the Dark"

A couple weeks ago at a show in Chicago, Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def) debuted a track produced by Kanye West called “The Light Is Not Afraid of the Dark,” and for lack of a better word, it grooves. The song was produced during sessions for True Magic in 2006, and has just been publicly released, but it sounds like it could have been a B-Side for Black on Both Sides in 1999. The beat rolls with a subtle, classic Mos Def bass line and the track literally crackles like an old record. Yasiin shows us why he still has Mos Def’s guts, too — he takes the risk of rocking a chorus that’s the lowest, quietest part of the track, and it works.

The track intensifies as Yasiin grinds through and draws in the listener for the pounce of the next verse. The whole piece chills out more than its siblings that made it onto the True Magic release and highlights his more optimistic, less rebellious side.

“The Light Is Not Afraid of The Dark” contrasts starkly with “Black Jesus,” the newly released track from Yasiin’s upcoming collaboration with Mannie Fresh, OMFGOD. Where the latter throws repeated chants in your face, the former lays low on a fresh flow. The fact that Yasiin decided to release this track now just goes to show that while he is making strides towards a new identity and new impacts on the rap game, he’s still got the Mos Def ace in the hole.