Drake Upset By Criticism from Rapper Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) Claiming Canadian Star Makes ‘Pop Music’ for Shoppers at Target

It is extremely rare that rapper Yasiin Bey, formerly Mos Def, does social media or interviews. So it was surprising when the Brooklyn native was a guest on “The Cutting Room Floor” podcast last week. That interview is now going viral for what he had to say about one of rap music’s biggest stars, Drake.

Drake upset with rapper Mos Def also known as Yasiin Bey for saying his music is great for shopping at target.
Drake upset with rapper Mos Def also known as Yasiin Bey for saying his music is great for shopping at target. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)(Photo by Mark Horton/WireImage)

When asked by host Recho Omondi if he considers the chart-topping Canadian artist hip-hop, Bey replied as one might think a cultural pluralist would.

“Why you doing this to me?” the Black Star founding member said.

“Drake is pop to me,” he continued, “in the sense like, if I was in Target in Houston and I heard a Drake song … it feels like a lot of his music is compatible with shopping.”

The host said, “commercial music.”

“Or shopping with an edge in certain instances,” the “My Umi Says” artist replied.

“I like Drake’s music, but I understand exactly what you’re saying,” the host offered. “It’s commercial, entertaining, fun, good, formulaic music.”

“It’s likable,” Bey offered.

Many on social media chimed in on Bey’s assessment, showing there is a divide in how people categorize the “In My Feelings” megastar.

Some said that the elder statesman was “hating,” dismissing his skill set as a rapper.

“This some hating s—t .. mind you,, Drake RAPS a million times better than Mos Def rn,” one person wrote online.

One fan responded writing, “Lmao mos def would wear Drake tf out .. drake definitely is pop and candy cutter music no substance, but definitely marketable….”

Some jumped on and put his focus on the culture, calling cap at all of the Drake support in light of Bey’s comments. But other respected Bey’s remarks as a vet in the rap game.

“The problem is people don’t really know Mos Def and what he stand for. It’s just Drake fans (not hip hop fans) white knighting for their guy He didn’t even diss Drake, he made a comment on the state of things. As Yasiin Bey has always done so well.”

A 2:36-minute excerpt of the interview circulating on social media shows Bey continued to dismiss Drake for being so commercial, indicating that there is a greater cultural dynamic at play. For him, Drake represents the fall of hip-hop culture, the larger entity that rap is a small part of.

“What happens when this thing collapses?” he added. “What happens when the columns start buckling? Are we not in some early stage of that, at this present hour? Are we seeing the collapse of the empire? Buying and selling, where’s the message that I can use? What’s in it for your audience apart from banging the pom-poms?”

This is not the first time that the former Nkiru bookstore owner has expressed his disdain for the commercialization of rap music. Recently, he and his Black Star partner Talib Kweli, in rebellion against the current distribution of art, decided to release their highly anticipated sophomore album, “No Fear of Time,” on a digital streaming service that they controlled.

Initially, they released the project on the Luminary app, and then to Bandcamp.

While not widely available, the duo believes it allowed them as artists to be in control of their product and speak directly to their audience.

Drake initially responded to Bey’s remarks by sharing a throwback clip of Method Man on his Instagram story. Underneath he wrote, “What umi say again? Lemme shine my light king don’t change up now?”

In the clip, the Wu-Tang MC can be heard explaining what hip-hop means. He said, “Hip-hop is a culture. It’s a way of life, it’s the way you dress, the way you talk, the way you walk. It’s the breakdancing, the rhymes … stage shows.”

Drake continued his shade after calling Bey a “Bohemian Bucket” in the comment section of an Instagram poll regarding podcaster Friday Ricky Dred and his claim that he met Bey back in 2005 just days before Bey married his second wife, Alanya Wyatt-Smith, at a music festival in Toronto.

The term “bucket” is used a Toronto slang meaning junkie or crackhead.

Dred claims they met backstage and alleged that Bey was an ecstasy bender at the time. He also mentioned Alanya’s book, “Breaking the Code of Silence,” in which she detailed filing for divorce two months after buying a six-figure home.

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Dred claimed that the couple got married after a weekend rendezvous, calling it “The Toronto Finesse,” and Bey a “waste yute,” which is another Toronto slang term for a person who is wasting someone’s time and space.

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