Mos Def Net Worth: Rapper and actor Dante Terrell Smith, better known by his stage name Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def), was born on December 11, 1973, in Brooklyn, New York, United States. In addition to Mighty Mos Def, The Freaky Night Watchman, Boogie Man, Black Dante, and Pretty Flaco, he currently goes by the stage name Yasiin Bey.
In 1994, he joined a group called Urban Thermo Dynamics and started rapping. In 1998, he and Talib Kweli started the duet Black Star. Black on Both Sides was his first solo album, followed by The New Danger in 2004, True Magic in 2006, and The Ecstatic in 2009.
Mos Def was first known for his musical work, but since the early 2000s, his work on the big screen has made him one of the few rappers to receive praise for their acting.
Mos Def Early Life
Dante Terrell Smith, the name Mos Def was given to him when he was born on December 11, 1973. While his father, Abdulrahman Smith, lived in New Jersey, he grew up in Brooklyn, New York City, with his mother, Sheron Smith.
He is the oldest of twelve children and began acting while a middle school student in Bushwick, Brooklyn. While growing up in New York City, he took part in numerous plays, Off-Off-Broadway productions, and other arts initiatives.
Mos Def Personal Life
Mos Def wed Maria Yepes in 1996. Before filing for divorce in 2006, they were wed for ten years. Since then, Mos Def has had several partnerships and fathered a total of six kids. After overstaying a tourist visa and residing in South Africa illegally since 2014, Mos Def gained notoriety in 2016 when he was forced to leave.
Since then, he is not permitted to go back to South Africa. The artist generally supports left-wing political ideologies and has participated in several political and social activist campaigns. He has been vocal on issues such as the death penalty and police brutality.
By publishing the song “Katrina Clap,” he denounced the Bush administration’s response to Hurricane Katrina. Later, using the hurricane as an example, he made an appearance on “Real Time with Bill Maher” to speak out against racism toward African-Americans.
He has additionally promoted environmental rights by participating in the children’s hip-hop musical “Pacha’s Pajamas,” which focuses on the natural world. To bridge the gap between hip-hop and fine art, he built the Compound in 2018, a public art gallery in the South Bronx in New York City.
Why Did Def Change His Name To Yasiin?
The rapper discussed the influences of materialism in his decision to change his name during the interview. I’ve been going by Yasiin since 1999 because I started to worry that Mos Def was being treated more like a product than a person, he claimed.
Mos Def Career
In 1994, Mos Def formed the group Urban Thermo Dynamics, better known as UTD, along with his younger sister Ces and younger brother DCQ. They released their only album in 2004, “Manifest Destiny.” Meanwhile, Mos Def also began working and releasing music as a solo artist.
He released “Universal Magnetic,” his first single, in 1997. Following this release, he signed with Rawkus Records and partnered with Talib Kweli to form the rap group Black Star. In 1998, they released the album “Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star.”
The album was well-received and two of its singles, “Respiration” and “Definition” reached the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The following year, in 1999, Mos Def released “Black on Both Sides,” his first solo album, which reached number 25 on the Billboard 200 charts.
His second album, released in 2002 under Geffen Records, “The New Danger” reached number 5 on the Billboard 200 and included the single “Sex, Love & Money.” This single was nominated for a Grammy Award. Mos Def released his final solo album on Geffen Records, “True Magic,” in 2006.
Mos Def next decided to work with producer Al Be Black for his next album, “The Ecstatic,” which featured guest artists The Neptunes, J. Dilla, and Georgia Anne Muldrow. Always known for collaboration with other musical artists, Mos Def also began frequently appearing on the albums and tracks of some of his friends and other musicians.
He appeared on Kanye West’s song “Two Worlds” from the acclaimed “The College Dropout Album” and then again on two more tracks from West’s “Graduation Album.” He also worked on tracks with Apollo Heights, Justice, Stephen Marley, Gorillaz, and The Roots, among others.
The artist then decided to legally change his name to Yasiin Bey in 2011 but continued his collaborative efforts with other artists, working with A$AP Rocky on his second album. He then announced in 2016 that he would be producing a final album that year and then retiring.
However, he seemed to have changed his mind as he continued playing shows in 2017 and 2018 and released a new album in 2019 at Art Basel Hong Kong as a musical art installation. “The Source” has declared Mos Def as of the Top Lyricists of All Time and About.com ranked him number 14 on their list of Top 50 MCs of Our Time. He is also cited by artists like Kid Cudi, Lupe Fiasco, and Kendrick Lamar as a musical inspiration.
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When he was younger, Mos Def started performing and made appearances in several comedies, TV movies, and music videos. In the movie “Brown Sugar,” one of his early roles that garnered praise, he received nominations for the Image Award and Teen Choice Award.
He appeared in “Carmen: A Hip Hopera” on MTV with Beyonce, and he also had a part in “The Italian Job” from 2003. His work with Jeffrey Wright in the Broadway play “Topdog/Underdog,” which garnered a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award nomination, earned him a Special Award from the Outer Critics Circle Awards.
For his roles in “The Woodsman,” “Something the Lord Made,” and “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” he continued to enjoy success and praise from critics. Later, he co-starred with Jack Black in the movie “Be Kind Rewind,” and he played Chuck Berry in the movie “Cadillac Records.”
He received nominations for the Black Reel Awards and the Image Awards because of this portrayal. Additionally, he has made appearances in several television shows, such as the animated programs “House,” “Dexter,” “Boondocks,” and “Yo Gabba Gabba!” He also served as the host of the award-winning HBO program “Def Poetry.”
Mos Def Net Worth
American rapper and actor Mos Def has a 2.5 million dollar net worth. Mos Def has been nominated for several Grammy Awards, as well as an Emmy Award, Golden Globe, and NAACP Image Award, throughout a highly successful multi-decade career.
Frequently Asked Questions
How tall is Yasiin Bey?
Yasiin Bey’s height is 5 ft 8 in (175.0 cm).
Is Mos Def vegetarian?
Mos Def is a vegetarian.
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