Yasiin Bey (changed from Dante Terrell Smith), is known commonly as ‘Mos Def.’ He is a an American rapper, activist, and actor from New York. Mos was born in Brooklyn, New York on December 11th, 1972. He was born to Sheron Smith and Abdul Rahman and was the eldest of 12 children and step-children. Def formed a group with his siblings for a brief period in the hip hop group, ‘Urban Thermo Dynamics’ in 1994. He then appeared on a couple albums and soon formed the hip hop duo with fellow artist, Talib Kweli. The group is called Black Star and is known today as one of the powerful conscious hip hop forces. They released their first album in 1998 and Def released his first solo album in 1999 called Black on Both Sides. He has also gained a reputation as being a talented actor, appearing in a slew of films over the years. Two prominent films he played in were The Italian Job and 16 Blocks. Mos Def also hosted the Def Jam Poetry show which aired on HBO from 2002 to 2007.
His father was a member of the Nation of Islam but wasn’t in Def’s life much so the future rapper wasn’t exposed to Islam until he was 13. He took his shahada at 19, which is the Muslim Declaration of Faith.
Def is known for fighting American Exceptionalism, the idea the United States has Divine right to expand and conquer. He also is an activist for police brutality and fighting the subjugated state of black Americans. He is famous for not siding with Democrats and exposes the flaws in the Bipartisan agenda.
He enjoys doing a lot of philanthropic work and has collaborated/donated to charities such as Be the Change and the Common Ground Foundation. He also likes listening to old school hip hop like A Tribe Called Quest. He likes to write and think as well as be an agent of change for the people he influences.
Mos Def was married to Maria Yepes from 1996 to 2005. He married Alana Wyatt in 2005 and the couple has stayed together since.
Def has endorsement deals with Louis Vuitton, Visa, and GMC. He always had a love for theatrical arts so his roles in films are really jobs but also hobbies. He has a net worth of well over 5 million dollars. He developed his rapping skills in Washington Square Park in the ’80s with other young rappers while he was working as an actor.