Photos: Yasiin Bey returns to San Francisco
Words and Pictures: Kevin Lee / October 21, 2012
Last Saturday, Yasiin Bey filled the Regency Ballroom in the middle of San Francisco. With the stage and audience flooded in red lights to nearly recreate the album cover of his latest album, The Estatic, he came with two DJs at his flanks, DJ Preservation and Abdul Rahman, and his now-trademark gloss red Shure Super 55 old-timey microphone that never seems to leave his side on stage or in the studio. He also came with his dancing shoes, spinning and shuffling when he wasn't rocking the mic, and sometimes both at the same time. The former Mos Def played live most of his last album along with choice selects from his Rawkus debut, Black on Both Sides, including "Hip Hop", and "Umi Says".
Opening for Yasiin were HBK Gang and IAMSU! associate Jay Ant, whose own ratchet style (strongly influenced by the indigenous Bay Area styles, as he proudly claims hyphy onstage) found a following with the crowd. Also performing were Oakland's Antique Naked Soul, lead by singer Antique and beatboxer Tommy Shepard, a crew that eschews instruments for a sampler, and creates their backing arrangements by looping bars of beats and melodies from their own voices.