Mos Def to retire name after 2011

Posted on 8 September 2011
By Matt Barden
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Mos Def has announced that as of 2012 he will no longer answer to the stage name he created in 1994.

Instead Dante Smith will reinvent himself as Yasiin.

The hip-hop star, who has had critical acclaim as a solo artist and as one half of the rap duo Blackstar, spoke to MTV about the change-up;

“Mos Def is a name that I built and cultivated over the years, it’s a name that the streets taught me, a figure of speech that was given to me by the culture and by my environment, and I feel I’ve done quite a bit with that name and it’s time to expand and move on.”

“Also, I didn’t want to have to deal with having any moniker or separation between the self that I see and know myself as.”

The new name is derived from the Koran as the Black on Both Sides artist is a devout Muslim.

Mos has concentrated on film and TV appearances since 2000, staring in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and The Italian Job. He will soon be hitting the small screen as Brother Sam in Dexter.

The change may be due to his blossoming movie career, where in all his films he is credited as his hip-hop moniker.

But whether or not another Blackstar album would be written by Talib Kweli and Yasiin remains to be seen.