Mos Def [Smith, Dante Terrell; Yasiin Bey]
- Jared Pauley
[Smith, Dante Terrell; Yasiin Bey]
(b Brooklyn, NY, Dec 11, 1973). American rapper and actor. He is known for his wide-ranging abilities as a lyricist and is also a competent multi-instrumentalist. He first came to prominence during the late 1990s as a member of Black Star, a duo with the rapper Talib Kweli. Many of his lyrics focus on political and socioeconomic subjects.
A convert to Islam, he initially formed a group with his younger brother and sister called Urban Thermo Dynamics. The group was signed to Payday Records, but they managed to release only two singles and their debut album Manifest Destiny was shelved until 2004. In 1996 he appeared in several songs on Da Bush Babees’ album Gravity (1996). He also made an appearance on De La Soul’s album Stakes is High (1996).
In 1998 Mos Def (shorthand for “most definitely”) teamed up with Kweli to form Black Star; the pair released their critically acclaimed debut ...