Further cementing his status as one of the most thrillingly perplexing artists of our time, Yasiin Bey (f.k.a. Mos Def) has responded to the understandable hoopla surrounding a potential rap battle with Lupe Fiasco in the most admirably forward-thinking way possible. In case you missed it (what's wrong with you?), a video surfaced earlier this week in which Bey appeared to challenge practically everyone to a no-holds-barred rap battle. "We don't have to make no back-and-forth corny records about it," Bey says in the clip, assumedly referencing the ongoing feud between Drake and Meek Mill, "[but] we could put it on its feet for the world to see."
Lupe responded almost immediately, taking to the 'gram to sneak in a Quentin Miller reference while suggesting Bey would subsequently "get a whiff of the wrath." Surely suffering from Meek vs. Drake exhaustion, the internet humorously divided itself into two fields of thought: Lupe Is The Best and, of course, Yasiin Bey Is The Best. Though the battle seemed imminent and even downright confirmed for an entertaining few hours, Bey's latest word on the matter suggests otherwise.
"I stand behind the statement," Bey tells Ferrari Sheppard in a new interview, "but, at the same time, I'm not trying to arrange some sort of exhibition. I see certain people, I have an opinion about them. It’s a private opinion made public, I will say again, without my knowledge or permission or consent. So, that’s a violation." According to Bey himself, those initially private remarks were simply meant to make a valid point about the current Gladiator atmosphere of the public's self-fueled desires for continually escalating feuds. "We are the only culture that this atmosphere has been constructed around," says Bey. "Some of that is self-perpetuated, but all of it is not self-inflicted. It’s threatening to turn the whole thing, or a fair portion of the thing, into some gladiator tournament."