“Im not just inspired by black art, but good art, representations of art that are sincere and genuine” (Mos Def)
Mos Def has been in the rap game for years. People also know him under different nicknames such as Mighty Mos Def, The Freaky Night Watchman, Boogie Man, Black Dante, and Pretty Flaco.
Mos Def aka Dante Terell Smith was born on December the 11th, 1973 in Brooklyn, New York. At the tender age of 9, Mos Def showed some talent for rhyming.
In 1994, Mos Def formed his group, Urban Thermo Dynamics with his younger brother DCQ and his younger sister Ces.
Signed to Payday Records, the group released two singles. However, it took ten years to see the release of the group’s album, Manifest Destiny, become a reality.
In 1996, Mos Def focused on a solo career and started collaborating with artists such as De La Soul.
Mos Def’s first single, Universal Magnetic, became an underground classic.
Signing with Rawkus Records, Mos Def started collaborating with Talib Kweli. Both artists formed a group called Black Star and released a Hi Tek produced album under the same name in 1998.
The following year, Mos Def released his solo album, Black On Both Sides.
After the fate of Rawkus Records, Mos Def and talib Kweli were signed to Interscope/ Geffen Records.
In 2004, Mos Def released his second album, The New Danger.
In September 2005, Mos Def released Katrina Clap, a song that offers some real criticism against the slow response of the Bush administration after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans.
Mos Def’s new album, The Undeniable Free Flaco is due to release in early 2006.
What is Mos Def all about?
Mos Def has always been socially and politically outspoken. Mos Def’s style is original and engaged. Often qualified as alternative hip hop, Mos Def’s music contains clear references to Islamic faith. The talented artist also pointed out black people’s role in the birth of rock ‘n roll music.
Mos Def doesn’t think his music should be categorized as Â«Â alternative hip hopÂ Â», and that’s why:
Â« So often, artists like myself or Kweli are referred to as alternative or conscious. To me, that’s like another code word to diminish your attachments to the community, to black people. You’re like this foreign, distant element that people may admire from a distance but they don’t have any real closeness to, it’s not intimate to them, it’s not of them. Â»
“I never had any ambitions of being a movie star or anything like that, but you know, this is nice.” (Mos Def)
Mos Def was first featured in the Cosby Mysteries, a TV show, in 1994.
In 1997, Mos Def starred in All’s Well That Ends Well. The following year, he played in Czech Bouncer.
However, Mos Def became more notorious in the movie industry in the 2000â€˜s.
In 2000, the talented rapper played in two different movies, Island Of The Dead and Bamboozled. In 2001, he was featured in Carmen: A Hip Hopera and Monster’s Ball.
In 2002, Mos Def played in three different movies: Show Time, Civil Brand and the well known Brown Sugar movie. Mos Def was nominated for Outstanding supporting Actor in a Motion picture at the 34th NAACP Image Awards for Brown Sugar.
Mos Def pursued his acting career with The Italian Job in 2003.
In 2004, he was nominated for The Woodman and for Something The Lord Made. Both films received acclaim from the public. Mos Def won several prices for both films mentioned above. In 2005, Mos Def was nominated for Choice Rap Artist in a Movie, 2005 Teen Choice Awards.
Mos Def is currently working on Bobby 2006.
Mos Def is a huge influence to rap music and hip hop culture. He is a great lyricist who knows how to handle words.
More info on Mos Def can be found here.