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Discovering “Negus”, the exhibition of Yasiin Bey

The Gulf is hosting for the first time the audiovisual exhibition "Negus", entirely created by the American rapper Mos Def, who is better known today under the name Yasiin Bey. But make no mistake: in the art galleries, it is the rapper's new album that fans will discover, all within the framework of an ... immersive experience!

It would be a lie to say that we weren’t intrigued when, just two years ago, Yasiin Bey announced that his latest album would not be available in physical or digital form, but only in art installations, which would be progressively set up around the world.

Recorded in London in 2015, and produced by some talented Hip-Hop insiders such as Lord Tusk, Steven Julien and ACyde, is designed as an “immersive listening experience.” Okay. But then, how do you get more immersed than by putting on headphones and closing your eyes?

An immersive experience

First of all, by getting rid of your phone. The precious object, which has become the continuity of the strong arm of a very – too? – large percentage of the population, remains under seal throughout the time spent within the exhibition, no doubt in order to achieve a level of concentration necessary to reach Nirvana when listening to Dream Study, Day Trippers or even Hemp.

Since its launch in early 2019 at Art Basel in Hong Kong, the exhibition, named “Negus” as the title of the project, has passed through Marrakech, or even New York before settling in the Middle East.

A recipe that hits home

The formula remains unchanged: quality music, accompanied by artworks handpicked by the artist himself, among the former residents of the gallery The Third Line in Dubai, such as Nima Nabavi, Laleh Khorramian, Ala Ebtekar or Anuar Khalifi. From multiple and complex triangular suspensions to canvases representing the cosmos, everything is done so that the music is transcended by these inspired visual supports.

In addition, a large video projection of images attempts to best represent the Brooklyn rapper’s views, but for those not so sensitive to symbolism, a smaller screen shows his lyric book “Negus,” where he wrote with markers and crayons, “Go ahead, stay on top, dream, but focus.” Is Bey planning to retrain in personal development?