Mos Def, his birth name ‘Dante Terrell Smith’ and his Muslim name ‘Yasiin Bey’, born in Brooklyn, New York, is an American rapper, actor, and producer.
Best known for his music, Mos Def joined hip-hop in 1994 with Urban Thermo Dynamics (UTD), then appeared on albums by Da Bush Babees and De La Soul. Keep on reading to find out more about him.
Dante Terrell Smith was born on December 11th, 1973 in Brooklyn, New York. He then formed the Black Star duet, with rapper Talib Kweli, and participated in their homonymous album in 1998.
He became a major force of underground hip-hop in the mid-1990s during his Rawkus Records label period.
In 1999, Mos Def released his first solo album, “Black on Both Sides”, to the Rawkus and Priority Records labels.
It is followed by “The New Danger” (2004), “True Magic” (2006) and “The Ecstatic” (2009).
At the age of 9, Dante Terrell Smith affirms his passion for music by starting to rap. The young rapper takes the nickname Mos Def from the phrase “most definitely.”
He quickly mounts his first rap group, Urban Thermo Dynamics (UTD), with his brother and sister.
Since the beginning of the 90s, he has been leading an acting career and a musical career. He plays in various television series such as NYPD Blues.
In 1998, he released his first album titled Black Star and signed the following year Black on the Both Sides. Brown Sugar (2003) Rick Famuyiwa allows him to take his first steps in the cinema.
The same year, it is seen in F. Gary Gray’s Italian Shooting, for which he performed most of the stunts.
An experience as exciting as fruitful since it allowed him, among other things, to pass his driving license! Two years later, he radically changes the register with the film combining comedy and science fiction H2G2: the guide galactic traveler Garth Jennings.
He does not neglect his musical career, he rises during these years the group Black Jack Johnson, participates in the albums of other rappers like De la Soul. It’s also seen in Alicia Keys’ video clip you do not Know My Name.
From 2004 to 2006, Mos Def also worked on his own account as he released three other albums (The New Danger, Tru3 Magic and Mos Definite).
After a “break” in his film career, he returned to the big screen in 2006 He plays a detective role in Nicole Kassell’s The Woodsman, replies to Bruce Willis in 16 blocks by Richard Donner, and participates in the musical documentary Block Party.
In 2008, Michel Gondry called on him to hold the videoclub of Be Cool Rewind, offbeat and nostalgic comedy on the VHS years. In 2009, he combines his two passions: he plays Chuck Berry in the film Cadillac Records which tells the rise and the fall of Leonard Chess who launched the career of big names of R & B.
In early September 2011, on the sidelines of the Californian Rock the Bells festival in which he participated, Mos Def announces that he would change his name of scene next year for the one from Yasiin.
After attending began an acting school on television for The Cosby Mysteries, in 1994. With DCQ and he CÉ formed his first group, the dynamic Thermo Urban with whom he released his first album Destiny manifesto.
He moved to Brooklyn, where he started collaborating with De La Soul (Big Brother Beat) and Da Bush Babees (Help Keychain First) both in 1996. After several singles, including Universal Magnetic, He managed to sign a contract with Rawkus records.
Here come the album Mos Def Talib Kweli are Black Star (1998), A collaboration with Talib Kweli and DJ Hi-Tek. Then he released his Black solo album on both sides still on the Rawkus label, whose cover vaguely recalls “Tutu” by Miles Davis.
After leaving the musical career to devote himself to the cinema. In the early 2000s, it is found in movies like Monster Ball acting and winding. Also perform the lines of Ford Prefect in the movie Galactic Hitchhiker’s Guide (2005) and part of the protagonist in the film be Kind Rewind by Michel Gondry (2008).
She works on the Black Jack Johnson project with Bernie Worrell (Parliament-Funkadelic), guitarist Dr. Know (Bad Brains), Percussionist Will Calhoun (Living Color), and bassist Doug Wimbish (The Sugarhill Gang, Grandmaster Flash, Living Color) who did not have the hoped success.
At the end of 2006, he released his third solo album under the name True Magic, but did not advertise it in any way. In 2009, it is the turn of the Ecstatic, with productions of Madlib, the Neptunes, Mr. Flash and others. He appeared in the episode “Tommy” from the TV series In the Family with Damon Wayans.
Mos Def converted to Islam by joining the Nation of Islam, an Islamic group strongly rooted in the African-American community, which has often expressed interest in hip hop culture. He is a vegetarian and has also been in the sexiest vegetarian celebrity of 2011 peta2.
On July 8, 2013 on the web, it was published a video in which the rapper voluntarily submitted to the practice of forced feeding, the technique used on prisoners in food refusing Guantanamo, Cuba.
The whole procedure was filmed by a non-profit organization called “Reprieve” to denounce the torture. The video was then transmitted by The Guardian.
Before his musical career, Mos Def became popular as a child actor, playing in television series, sitcoms, and plays, under the name of Dante Beze. At 14, he played in the TV movie “God Bless the Child”, broadcast on ABC in 1988. He also plays in “You Take the Kids”.
In 1995, he played Dante in “The Cosby Mysteries”. Since the early 2000s, Mos Def has become known in such films as “Something the Lord Made”, “Next Day Air”, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, 16 blocks, “Be Kind Rewind”, “Braking to Italian “,” Bamboozled “and” Brown Sugar “.
In February 2016, he announced via a voice message to Kanye West that he will put an end to his career, after the release of his last album in 2016.
Dante Terrell Smith was born in Brooklyn, New York, son of Sheron Smith and Abdul Rahman. He is the eldest of 12 children, raised by his mother in Brooklyn, while his father lives in New Jersey. His father was a member of the Nation of Islam and later Imam Warith Deen Mohammed. Mos Def converted to Islam at the age of 19.
Mos Def becomes a pupil of Philippa Schuyler Middle School 383 in Bushwick where he becomes actor “You Take the Kids” in Los Angeles, and becomes the companion of a girl older than him, Mos Def abandons his studies.
He experiences particularly traumatic experiences during his childhood, and sees one of his brothers hit by a car. Five-year-old Denard Smith (DCQ), whom Mos Def describes as his “first rapper partner,” remains in a coma for 6 months.
Mos Def started hip-hop in 1994, forming the UTD group (or Urban Thermo Dynamics) with his brother DCQ (Jashiya Illson, born Derente Smith) and his sister Ces. In 2004, they released “Manifest Destiny”, their only album. It contains several unreleased songs recorded during the UTD period.
In 1996, Mos Def emerged as a solo artist collaborating with De La Soul and Da Bush Babees, before releasing his first single, “Universal Magnetic”, which met with success in the underground milieu of American hip-hop.
Mos Def signed with Rawkus Records and formed the Black Star band with Talib Kweli. The duo publishes an album, “Mos Def and Talib Kweli are Black Star”, in 1998. Produced by Hi-Tek, the album contains the hit singles “Respiration” and “Definition”, which will become two of the 100 best hip songs -hop on VH1.
In 1999, Mos Def released his first solo album, “Black on Both Sides”, which included the single “Umi Says”. He also makes appearances on the compilations of the label Rawkus “Soundbombing” and “Lyricist Lounge” which contains the tube Oh No. After the collapse of Rawkus, Mos Def and Talib Kweli sign at Interscope.
In 2003, he appeared in the film Braquage à l’italienne, alongside Mark Wahlberg. Mos Def then publishes his second album, The New Danger, in 2004, then his third album, “Tru3 Magic” in.
The song “Crime and Medicine” is a cover of GZA’s single, “Liquid Swords” released in 1995. Also, the song “Undeniable” takes up a version of the composition of Barrett Strong / Norman Whitfield, “Message from a Black Man” . The song “Dollar Day” uses the same beat as the title of Juvenile “Nolia Clap”.
In, he released Mos Definite, an album gathering unused sounds on his previous projects. In 2008, he shared a lead role in the movie Be Cool, rewind alongside Jack Black, Danny Glover and Mia Farrow. In, he sings on the song America with Chali 2na and K’naan on the album Troubadour of K’naan.
On June 9, 2009 he released The Ecstatic, produced by French musician Mr. Flash. In, he collaborates with the rock / blues band The Black Keys for the Blakroc project; we hear it in “On the Vista” and “Is not Nothing Like You” (Hoochie Coo).
In 2010, he sings on the songs “Pen” and “Sweepstakes”, on the third studio album Gorillaz group, “Plastic Beach”.
In, he signs on the GOOD Music label created by Kanye West. In 2011, he performed on the set of Fuel TV’s American show “The Daily Habit”, with the title “World Premiere”, produced by Madlib. He also plays in the role of Brother Sam in Dexter’s Season 6 for five episodes.
Since 2012, Mos Def has changed his name and is called “Yasiin”. His first project under this new name, whose complete form is Yasiin Bey, is a mixtape of freestyles revisiting some forty hip hop hits of recent years from an engaged angle.
The first title to be revealed is “Niggas in Poorest”, a freestyle on the instrumental “Niggas in Paris” by Kanye West and Jay-Z.
In 2015, Mos Def participated in A $ AP Rocky’s second album, “At Long A. Last ASAP” on the title “Back Home” with Acyde and A $ AP Yams.
He returns for two songs in August 2015: “Basquiat Ghostwriter” and “Sensei on the Block”.
In, he agrees to be force-fed to the cameras of the director Asif Kapadia and this, in solidarity with Guantánamo detainees then on hunger strike.
Full name: Dante Terrell Smith
Date of birth: December 11, 1973
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Profession: Rapper, Singer
Height: 1.85 m
Weight: 90 kg
Net Worth: 1.5$ million