Yasiin Bey (AKA Mos Def) Speaks on Malcolm X With UCI Hip-Hop Professor Sohail Daulatzai

The resurgence of Malcolm X is back at its highest point since the early '90s when people proudly sported “X” caps while producers sampled his speeches for rap songs. Conversations and debates about the black liberation figure sparked anew with the publication of the late Manning Marable's Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention in 2011. With the 50th anniversary of his assassination at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem, New York and what would have been his 90th birthday this year today, “Brother Malcolm” is once again the focus of attention.

UC Irvine professor Sohail Daulatzai (aka 'Doc Hip-Hop') interviewed Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) and asked him about Malcolm X. Daulatzai hooked up the Weekly with a clip of the rapper's thoughts.


Poetically referring to Malcolm X as a “statesmen without a state,” Bey reflects on the multiple layers of the political figure's lasting legacy. “It's really inspiring. It's also very intimidating for a lot of people. If you're an individual who is not afraid of anything, then people tend to be afraid or threatened by you,” the rapper says in the interview clip. “That attitude is expressed in hip-hop.”

The interview between Daulatzai and Bey took place in Paris, France. The full conversation titled “The Hungry and The Hunted” is included in the professor's limited edition book Return of the Mecca: The Art of Islam and Hip-Hop. It was released in conjunction with the exhibit by the same name curated by Daulatzai last October.

Feliz 90th birthday, Malcolm!

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