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Black Star

Initially regarded as one of the most promising rappers to emerge in the late '90s, Mos Def turned to acting in subsequent years as music became a secondary concern for him. He did release new music from time to time, including albums such as The New Danger (2004), but his output was erratic and seemingly governed by whim. Mos Def nonetheless continued to draw attention, especially from critics and underground rap fans, and his classic breakthrough albums -- Black Star (1998), a collaboration with Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek; and Black on Both Sides (1999), his solo debut -- continued to be revered, all the more so as time marched forward. Mos Def often used his renown for political purposes, protesting in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the Jena Six incident in 2007, for instance.

Born Dante Terrell Smith on December 11, 1973, in Brooklyn, NY, Mos Def began rapping at age nine and began professionally acting at age 14, when he appeared in a TV movie. After high school, he began acting in a variety of television roles, most notably appearing in 1994 on a short-lived Bill Cosby series, The Cosby Mysteries. In 1994 Mos Def formed the rap group Urban Thermo Dynamics with his younger brother and sister, and signed a recording deal with Payday Records that didn't amount to much. In 1996 his solo career was launched with a pair of high-profile guest features on De La Soul's "Big Brother Beat" and Da Bush Babees' "S.O.S." A year later, in 1997, Mos Def released his debut single, "Universal Magnetic," on Royalty Records, and it became an underground rap hit. This led to a recording contract with Rawkus Records, which was just getting off the ground at the time, and he began working on a full-length album with like-minded rapper Talib Kweli and producer Hi-Tek. The resulting album, Black Star (1998), became one of the most celebrated rap albums of its time. A year later came Mos Def's solo album, Black on Both Sides, and it inspired further attention and praise. Yet, aside from appearances on the Rawkus compilation series Lyricist Lounge and Soundbombing, no follow-up recordings were forthcoming, as the up-and-coming rapper turned his attention elsewhere, away from music.

During the early 2000s, Mos Def acted in several films (Monster's Ball, Bamboozled, Brown Sugar, The Woodsman) and even spent some time on Broadway (the Pulitzer Prize-winning Topdog/Underdog). He simultaneously worked on the Black Jack Johnson project with several iconic black musicians: keyboardist Bernie Worrell (Parliament/Funkadelic), guitarist Dr. Know (Bad Brains), drummer Will Calhoun (Living Colour), and bassist Doug Wimbish (the Sugarhill Gang, Grandmaster Flash, Living Colour). This project aimed to reclaim rock music, especially the rap-rock hybrid, from such artists as Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst, who Mos Def openly despised. What made Black Jack Johnson so anticipated though was not so much the supergroup roster of musicians or even Mos Def himself, but rather the lack of black rock bands. Following the demise of Living Colour, there were few, if any, that had attained substantial success. Mos Def hoped to infuse the rock world with his all-black band, and during the early 2000s, he performed several small shows with his band around the New York area. In October 2004, he finally delivered a second solo album, The New Danger, which involved Black Jack Johnson on a few tracks.

Two years later, after a few more acting roles -- including the Golden Globe-winning Lackawanna Blues and the Emmy-winning Something the Lord Made, both of which were made-for-television movies -- Mos Def released his third solo album, True Magic (2006). A contract-fulfilling release for Geffen, which had absorbed Rawkus years prior, the album trickled out in a small run during the last week of 2006. Bizarrely, the disc came with no artwork and was sold in a clear plastic case -- though its single, "Undeniable," did manage to grab a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Solo Performance. The Ecstatic, released on the Universal-distributed Downtown label, followed in June 2009; at that point, Mos Def had significant acting roles in Michel Gondry's Be Kind Rewind (in which he co-starred with Jack Black) and Cadillac Records (he played Chuck Berry). ~ Jason Birchmeier, Rovi
full bio

Comments

REWIND!!!! 4x
Rips it every time true MC
ginolongnutz
Rat
Talib rips it every time. Prolific writer and MC
blackberry_2 9
Black Star was the truth and this is a classic that is necessary in your collection! However this bio neglected the other member of the group, Talib Kweli who still continues to make quality hip hop.
TRUE POETS
blizsalico
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you've started reading so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lover's name will come on the screen in big letters. This is so scary because it actually works.
is this a bio or an opinion piece?! you don't have to do the artists justice but at least get something right. Kweli, anyone?
The BEAT Anit no Joke
This is my s**t
*******
I MISS BLACK STARR. where yall @????????
Damn the best hip-hop group that has ever surfaced
mos def also acted in Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy & has since convertd to Islam changng his name to Yasin Bey
yeeeea
https://soun d c l o u d . c o m / a _ g o o d _ m o v e m e n t check out my s**t! Im putting out more songs soon! Follow me on soundcloud if ur feeling it
Follow me if you like real rap and i will follow you back
jcswolle200
What a discredit to Talib and unbelievable after so many posts, no change has been made to this photo and bio!!
disregard that last comment. i just learned how pandora worked and i thought everyone was listening to A Childrens Story lol
well technically talib kweli wasnt even in this song, maybe thats why the bios like that? it still should have talib in it since its about black star. btw shoutout to slick rick
zman3192
F**k the prick who wrote this bio for Mos
Who ever write the bio is a dumb f**k! Anyone listening to this knows is Kweli and mos!!
The author behind this bio should put up a picture of Talib Kweli also, given that BlackStar was the 2 of them together.
fusionconfus i o n 2 4 0
Who wrote this biography? He sounds like he really doesn't like mos def. So what if he likes acting, that's not a bad thing.
Coco butter, brown skin ladies...lov e it!! ❌❤❌❤
biggims17
https://itun e s . a p p l e . c o m / a l b u m / s t a l e m a t e / i d 6 0 9 4 1 9 8 9 0 ? v 0 = 9 9 8 9 & i g n - m p t = u o % 3 D 1



www.reverbna t i o n . c o m / o p t i m i s t t h e k i n g




Black Star 1 of the best!
kanye=sell out
eminem=sell out
dre=sell out
Wayne=garbag e
mos def=genius
blackstar=le g e n d
f**k all u stupid a** haters...don t listen to any of his s**t if ur that against his personal decisions in my opinion he had every opportunity to sell out w/ his lyrical skills and didn't. he let the great s**t he made be and moved on
he was a successful actor before he was a successful rapper. I do agree that the Blackstar bio is bullshit but if you're gonna say mos def sold out that's just false. He did what he wanted to do. Just because that's not what u wanted him to do doesn't mean he sold out. @Vanessa-if his career was garbage after he started to act that would mean his entire career was garbage as he was acting when he was 14. Read more than the stupid Pandora page before u form an opinion. Appreciate the real.
ciclid3
Vanessa, I agree! Mos sold out
Really annoying that Pandora focused the ENTIRE Bio on Mos-Def, IMAO the LESSER of the artists in Black Star< It's a group>, NOT a solo artist. Hi-Tek and Talib Kweli WERE Blackstar. Otherwise it would be a Mos-Def album, which it is NOT. LOSE the myopic scope of your Bios Pandora. You lose a LOT of credibility posting this incomplete crap about Mos-Def's movie career. As if anyone who listens to Black Star doesn't know Mos SOLD OUT. Ya, I said it. Mos-Def's career= garbage once he started act
The. Dopest. Team-Up..... E V E R . . . . . M o s + T a l i b = Perfection.. . . . M a t c h made in Hip-Hop Heaven
Best s**t out there period.
Mos Def is so ill.
lawofone
This is a Mos Def bio, not a Black Star bio, obviously. Perhaps some people think they are one in the same.
sabreena_joy n e s 1 1 2 0
This is worst bio. There is no mention of Kweli and it seems to talk down about Mos and his accomplishme n t s . We need a real hip hopper to write this!
garrenbell
is it just me, or does the bio not mention Kweli?
Intro's from Chameleon Street...... .
Mos def defines what true hip hop is while remaining true to himself. Its not about the fame to him...its about the music.
Blackstar is real word play..
real hip hop
Mos Def n Talib Kweli are what hip hop music is all about
marsha835
ha!
Dear losers, stop pubbing your wack-a$$ artists' videos on other artists' pages!
carinavinhli e u
why is this bio all about mos? and why are they even talking about his acting career in the first 2 sentences. lawd, hire me. i'll write a better bio.
did somebody really confuse black star with blackstreet?
a lot of times I'll listen to rap and hip hop to escape or head nod or when I'm high. Black Star MAKES me think and gets me emotional. TRUE ART.
Best group best duo best MC's Blackstreet is just great
This joint is from 98 and it's better and more true to the art of hip hop than most of these fakes out today!
ademabdella
Black star f****in rocks!!
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