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The album was released on September 29, , to critical acclaim. The album deals with modern-day issues, philosophical ideas, and life in Brooklyn , New York City as the two artists know it. The album's fruition came about from the chemistry between the two emcees. Both planned to release their solo albums around the same time, but they postponed their individual projects and decided instead to collaborate on a full-length LP. The album's cover was designed by artist Brent Rollins.
Yasiin Bey — formerly known as Mos Def — spent the end of the 20th century eagerly looking at the 21st. On October 12, , just two months before the beginning of the new millennium, he released his debut solo album, Black On Both Sides. Yasiin understood that hip-hop was a culture built on connectivity, and he was more than willing to transmute this message across local and diasporic lines.