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Yasiin Bey

Ship Point, Victoria BC, July 15

Yasiin Bey
Photo: Megan Cole
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He may have been in a rare mood on Saturday night but when Yasiin Bey (the hip-hop artist and actor formerly known as Mos Def) took the stage to a small crowd at Victoria's Ship Point for Ska Fest, fans experienced a rare performance by the acclaimed rapper.

Dressed in a white robe, yellow scarf, ball cap and leather jacket, Bey dominated the small temporary stage performing songs that spanned his 22-year career. The evening's set list included "Life in Marvelous Times," "Mathematics," and a yet-to-be-released song "Young Love Never Dies," which he dedicated to Trayvon Martin. While the crowd enjoyed favourite tracks from Bey's repertoire he also added in covers by Notorious B.I.G.

But like many who performed throughout the four-day festival, Bey's between-song banter, and even the messages of his songs swung towards the political — he made headlines recently for voluntarily undergoing the standard procedures for force feeding Guantanamo detainees — including songs like "Fake Bonanza" from his 2006 album True Magic.

Despite the political message of the lyrics the energy pouring from the stage thanks to Bey's charisma, infectious dancing and pure talent kept the audience dancing and jumping throughout the set. The hour-long performance (which was a last minute addition to the festival line-up) was proof of why the acclaimed rapper has earned Grammy awards and the title of one of the top MCs of our time.
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