Mos Def f/ Talib Kweli "Beef" (2004)
Talib Kweli: “Yasiin writes verses years before you end up hearing them on records. That ‘Beef’ record ended up on the Mos Definite compilations. ‘Beef’ and ‘The Rape Over’ were just two things that he had as rhymes brewing in his head. I just added my verse to that, I don’t even remember what my verse was. I don’t even remember what beat we used on The Chappelle Show.
“I had a show at S.O.B.’s and we had sound check. Dave Chappelle wanted to film another Black Star segment, so he came down to soundcheck at S.O.B.’s while I was there and we just kind of cobbled something together which became known as the song ‘Beef.’ It’s never been recorded or pressed up in that way. Yasiin later used that verse on Mos Definite.
“I’ve known Dave Chappelle a long time. When I was in college, I went out with this girl who was an actress. She would go back and forth between me and Dave Chappelle. I knew him from The Nutty Professor and Half Baked. I would see him around the city but I didn’t like him because he was going out with the girl that I liked.
If you notice, Dave Chappelle's Rick James impersonation is different on the Reflection album than the one on the show. He had never met Charlie Murphy or Rick James at that time. His Rick James impersonation was more like a Bootsy Collins impersonation on our album.
“A couple of years later, De La had a show in Ohio near where Chappelle lives now. I went to see De La because I was working in Cincinnati with Hi-Tek. Dave was there and I mentioned the girl to him. I was like, ‘Years ago, I used to like this girl that you went out with,’ and we bonded over that girl.
“A couple of years later, when me and Hi-Tek were deep into working on the Reflection Eternal album, we were working at Electric Lady on 8th street in the Village. I would go out every day and go to the health food store; I was really into health food at the time.
"I saw Dave on the street and I was like, ‘Hey, Dave Chappelle.’ He was like, ‘What’s up, what are you doing?’ I said, ‘I’m working on an album,’ and he said to me, ‘I’ve never seen an album recorded. I would love to come see that.’ I said, ‘Come upstairs.’
“From that point on for a couple of months, he came to every session and just hung out. He would just come, crack jokes, and hang out. That’s how he ended up being all over the album. We recorded way more things, skits and whatnot, than we ended up using on the first album.
“Like, he did Bill Clinton and he did a bunch of voices. If you notice, his Rick James impersonation is different on the Reflection album than the one on the show. He had never met Charlie Murphy or Rick James at that time. His Rick James impersonation was more like a Bootsy Collins impersonation on our album."