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Mos Def

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

Selected Discography

Comments

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sweethoni89
We miss u Mos Def !!! U r talented
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Love this kat....mos def!
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Mos Definitely a Jam!
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Pandora,what happened to showing the lyrics
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"I had a bad experience!" . . . b e s t line ever....
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Yep he was amazing in hitchhikers guide to the galaxy
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best rapper and best person in hitchikers guide to the galaxy

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He is good at this and that rapping
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Music food for the soul
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̵̡͌̒̍̀̕ ̸̡̛̂̇̀ͬͮ͞ ̿̍̏͒̆ͯ̂ͮ̉͛̀͟ ̀ ̷̶̧ͮͦͬ̍ͭ́̇͞ ̉̓̆̾ͫͫ̑͑̉̔͒ͧ ͛ ͫ ̅ ͝ ͞ ̵ ͝ ̧̓̀͐ͪ̐ͨ̌̎̈́̿͢ ̛ ͐̈͊ͣ̓ͯͭ̈̐̅̇̔ ͦ ͧ ͢ ́ ̨ ́ ̢ͪ̈̔ͥ͡ ̷̀̒ͥͫ̋ͩ̽͏ ̛̄̄ͧ̈́̅ͪ̀́͟ ̡̄̽̒ͨ̐ͩͥ͡ ̒̑̾̅̉̋ͮͨ̄̒̀̚ ҉ ̢ ̅̔̀ͫͦ̿͆̒͐̐̎̚ ̊ ͗ ̅ ͒ ̧ ͡ ̴ ̴ ͡ ͌ͮͧͥ̈̇́̒̀̌ͥ̀ ͡ ̵ ̴ ̓̔̀̌̿̉ͯ̎ͧ̚̚̚ ͡ ͜ ̀ ̵ ̡ G ͝ ̴ ̨ ̛ ̛ l ͞ ͟ ͡ ͡ i ̷ ҉ ͠ t ͢ ̶ ͘ c ͜ ͝ ́ ͠ h ̛ ҉ ͢ ̛ e ͠ ̀ ͞ ̴ s ̡ ̸ ́ ̸ ͏ ̏̓ͮ̈ͦ̾͆ͭ͌͆̑̚ ͮ ̈ ̑ ͆ ̚ ̄ ̃ ̵ ͏ ͡ ͧ̊̊ͨ̀̂͛̊ͯ̓̾̚ ̊ ̏ ̸ ̀ ̸̧͒̌̌̉̀̚̕͞ ̸̡̆̏̑̈ͣ̈̉ͥ̀́ ̽ͨͩͩͭ͂ͥ̅̌̌ͩ̚ ͥ ̾ ̄ ͠ ͞ ̨ ҉ ́ ̈̿ͬ̔͆̌̏̋̏̾̏ͭ ̶ ̢ ̶͑͑ͧ̈́ͭ͗͂͗͋̕͠ ̵̆̇̉ͪ̚͘͡ ̵́̐ͪ̂ ̢͂̓ͬ͒ͩ ̡̢̀́͆͐̃ͫ̐́͟ ͫ͌̋͘͘ ͐̀
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I'm moved...a little bit.
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If these lyrics don't stop you in your tracks - you ain't hearing what I'm hearin'. wow
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I'm out there.....Fl y i n . . . . . . . F l y i n . . . One of the most fitting tributes to Mr. Gaye. Marvelous, Marvelous, Marvin, Modern Marvel.
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other filmography on this artist, The Italian Job, 16 Blocks, Lackawanna blues,
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Keep alive grow up in time love all the time never lose your mind
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a BAR with thought not these trending rappers spitting bars and bragging 'bout having thots
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This takes me back to 1999, great album!
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The truth!
#hiphop
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Mos n slick s**t was tight
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Wilber Ahmed do z CBS leech dog scones
Scantpncl sck
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sgonz215.sg
Deffinitely one of the livest mcees in the game. . Sharp clearspoken not corrupted. . Clean. . Watch yaself Mos Def they hatin hard on us you be good FAM
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jenellepitt2 0 1 1
Super loving this cut
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bobonnit = biggest hater ever
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altetly
Some people hate lol
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��...
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Mashallah
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An originator
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catinhat.cd
Lay down let kiss it G....Baby
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catinhat.cd
I stay all night until dawn G
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catinhat.cd
Lay down let massage your tired body....let me relax you be very attendant too your body kissing. The small of your back
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I love you Mos Def
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youre a b**ch vvvvv
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He stinks. The reason rappers rap is because they can't sing and he's a perfect example.
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Love this song!
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I like this song
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bloodrecords
Umi Says is my all-time competition get-ready song.
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catinhat.cd
I'm groove with all night love you moved you bedroom night kiss my pearl
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Yasin Bey keep it real fam much respect to you and Your lyrical content my son Deandre love your style he 15 and Getting it N T-Town813 Fla
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Yasin Bey will you marry me?
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I am in love with this muslim brother. Shout out to yasin bey aka mos def. Love his style, lyrics, deen. Very beautiful. As salaamu alaikum.
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oldcoolness
Def seems to be hyp within his style of rap vwitch is mostly informative wake up warnings hes overated and riding a banfwagon even though his voice dose sound good untill he starts whining im noten though mad props
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The one and only Mighty Mos. I've never taken the time to comment on Pandora, but my dude is worth more than just a few kind words. Big, big, big up's. Native Tonguessssss s
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The master hands down
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catinhat.cd
Crazy crush
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catinhat.cd
Remember a picture you put in on your still in my memory hot,sexy.
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Singing or acting, this man is a giant, no doubt.
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I never get enough of this song ��
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This is not fake apparently if you copy and paste this on ten comments you will have the best day of your life tomorrow. You will either be asked out or kissed if you break this chain you will see a little girl in your room tonight. In the next 53 minutes someone will either say I love your or I'm sorry.
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Love this Song
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otbxtrainz
i dont always comment, but when i do it's on an amazing song by a gifted artist
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