Mos Def

Biography

Regarded as one of hip-hop's most introspective and insightful artists, Mos Def has shaped a career that transcends music genres and artistic medium. A child of hip-hop's Golden Era, the native Brooklynite spent his childhood imbedded in the culture surrounding him as well as absorbing knowledge from across the artistic spectrum. With the release of "Universal Magnetic" (1996), Mos became an underground favorite in the hip hop world, leading to his legendary collaboration with Talib Kweli. The two formed Black Star whose debut album, Mos Def and Talib Kweli Are Black Star, would become one of the most critically acclaimed hip-hop albums. Mos followed with his 1999 solo debut, Black On Both Sides, which was certified gold and credited by critics as bringing hip-hop back to its soapbox roots. As with his music, Mos has demonstrated insight and passion with his acting career, appearing in Spike Lee's Bamboozled, MTV's Carmen: A Hip Hopera, 2002's critically acclaimed Monster's Ball, Showtime, and the 2002 romantic comedy Brown Sugar, for which he received an NAACP Image Award nomination. In addition Mos has served as the host, music supervisor and co-executive producer for the HBO series Def Poetry and served as a writer, producer and actor on the MTV sketch comedy series Lyricist Lounge. Mos completed his Broadway debut in 2002 in the Tony nominated, Pulitzer Prize winning, Topdog/Underdog. Mos re-teamed with Topdog playwright, Suzan Lori Parks and director George Wolfe for the off-Broadway play, Fucking A, for which he was awarded an Obie Award. In 2003, Mos Def starred in Paramount Pictures' The Italian Job, alongside Ed Norton, Mark Wahlberg and Charlize Theron. Then in 2004, Mos Def starred opposite Alan Rickman in the critically acclaimed HBO movie Something the Lord Made, for which he has received a 2004 Emmy Nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor In A Miniseries Or A Movie. Def was also nominated for both a Golden Globe Award (Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture) and Golden Satellite Award (Best Actor in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television) for the same role. Also in 2004, he starred on the big screen in the feature film The Woodsman, with Kevin Bacon, Benjamin Bratt, Eve and Kyra Sedgwick. Mos Def continued his music career by releasing his highly-anticipated and critically acclaimed sophomore solo release, The New Danger (2004). The album was met with praise from both critics and fans alike. The first single, "Sex, Love and Money' earned Def a 2005 Grammy nomination for Best Alternative/Urban Performance and the album has been certified gold by the RIAA. He then went on to appear in Spyglass Entertainment's The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy in May 2005 as hero "Ford Prefect." The film received favorable reviews and earned over $104 million worldwide. The following year he appeared alongside Bruce Willis in the crime thriller 16 Blocks (2006), in Dave Chappelle’s Block Party and had a cameo appearance in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. Also in 2006 he released his next album, True Magic. The following year he appeared in the 2007 PBS historical documentary, Prince Among Slaves, and in 2008 he played the role of Chuck Berry in Cadillac Records. Def then released his latest album, The Ecstatic in 2009 which proved to be his second highest charting album to date. He also appeared in the urban comedy, Next Day Air and guest starred in an episode of the FOX TV series, House. Most recently, Mos Def appeared (as himself) in the 2010 mockumentary film, I’m Still Here, staring Joaquin Phoenix. As of 2011, Def is currently working on the films, Mama Black Widow and Keep Coming Back. He is also set to reprise his role in the sequel to Italian Job.

Regarded as one of hip-hop's most introspective and insightful artists, Mos Def has shaped a career that transcends music genres and artistic medium. A child of hip-hop's Golden Era, the native Brooklynite spent his childhood imbedded in the culture surrounding him as well as absorbing knowledge from across the artistic spectrum. With the release of "Universal Magnetic" (1996), Mos became an underground favorite in the hip hop world, leading to his legendary collaboration with Talib Kweli. The two formed Black Star whose debut album, Mos Def and Talib Kweli Are Black Star, would become one of the most critically acclaimed hip-hop albums. Mos followed with his 1999 solo debut, Black On Both Sides, which was certified gold and credited by critics as bringing hip-hop back to its soapbox roots. As with his music, Mos has demonstrated insight and passion with his acting career, appearing in Spike Lee's Bamboozled, MTV's Carmen: A Hip Hopera, 2002's critically acclaimed Monster's Ball, Showtime, and the 2002 romantic comedy Brown Sugar, for which he received an NAACP Image Award nomination. In addition Mos has served as the host, music supervisor and co-executive producer for the HBO series Def Poetry and served as a writer, producer and actor on the MTV sketch comedy series Lyricist Lounge. Mos completed his Broadway debut in 2002 in the Tony nominated, Pulitzer Prize winning, Topdog/Underdog. Mos re-teamed with Topdog playwright, Suzan Lori Parks and director George Wolfe for the off-Broadway play, Fucking A, for which he was awarded an Obie Award. In 2003, Mos Def starred in Paramount Pictures' The Italian Job, alongside Ed Norton, Mark Wahlberg and Charlize Theron. Then in 2004, Mos Def starred opposite Alan Rickman in the critically acclaimed HBO movie Something the Lord Made, for which he has received a 2004 Emmy Nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor In A Miniseries Or A Movie. Def was also nominated for both a Golden Globe Award (Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture) and Golden Satellite Award (Best Actor in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television) for the same role. Also in 2004, he starred on the big screen in the feature film The Woodsman, with Kevin Bacon, Benjamin Bratt, Eve and Kyra Sedgwick. Mos Def continued his music career by releasing his highly-anticipated and critically acclaimed sophomore solo release, The New Danger (2004). The album was met with praise from both critics and fans alike. The first single, "Sex, Love and Money' earned Def a 2005 Grammy nomination for Best Alternative/Urban Performance and the album has been certified gold by the RIAA. He then went on to appear in Spyglass Entertainment's The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy in May 2005 as hero "Ford Prefect." The film received favorable reviews and earned over $104 million worldwide. The following year he appeared alongside Bruce Willis in the crime thriller 16 Blocks (2006), in Dave Chappelle’s Block Party and had a cameo appearance in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. Also in 2006 he released his next album, True Magic. The following year he appeared in the 2007 PBS historical documentary, Prince Among Slaves, and in 2008 he played the role of Chuck Berry in Cadillac Records. Def then released his latest album, The Ecstatic in 2009 which proved to be his second highest charting album to date. He also appeared in the urban comedy, Next Day Air and guest starred in an episode of the FOX TV series, House. Most recently, Mos Def appeared (as himself) in the 2010 mockumentary film, I’m Still Here, staring Joaquin Phoenix. As of 2011, Def is currently working on the films, Mama Black Widow and Keep Coming Back. He is also set to reprise his role in the sequel to Italian Job.

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Personal Info

Gender -

Known Credits 48

Birthday 1973-12-11

Place of Birth Brooklyn, New York, USA

Adult Actor False

Official Site www.mosdef.com

Also Known As

  • Black Star
  • Yasiin Bey
  • Flaco Bey
  • Dante Bezé
  • Bizet Dante
  • Smith Dante
  • Mos
  • Dante Smith

Known For

Acting TV ShowsMovies

2016 French Tour as Focé
2015 Amy as Yasiin Bey
2013 Life of Crime as Ordell Robbie (as Yasiin Bey)
2013 Begin Again as Saul
2013 Standard Operating Procedure
2012 Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap as Himself
2011 Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest as Himself
2010 I'm Still Here as Himself
2010 Bouncing Cats
2009 Next Day Air as Eric
2008 Cadillac Records as Chuck Berry
2008 Be Kind Rewind as Mike
2008 In Prison My Whole Life as Himself
2006 Dexter(0 episodes) as Brother Sam
2006 Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby as Mos Def
2006 Journey to the End of the Night as Wemba
2006 16 Blocks as Eddie Bunker
2005 The Boondocks(3 episodes)
2005 Dave Chappelle's Block Party as Mos Def
2005 Lackawanna Blues as The Bandleader
2005 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy as Ford Prefect
2004 The Woodsman as Sgt. Lucas
2004 House(2 episodes)
2004 Something the Lord Made as Vivien Thomas
2003 Civil Brand as Michael Meadows
2003 The Italian Job as Left Ear
2003 Jimmy Kimmel Live!(2 episodes)
2003 Chappelle's Show(1 episode)
2003 Richard Pryor: I Ain't Dead Yet, #*%$#@!! as Himself
2002 Brown Sugar as Chris 'Cav' Anton Vichon
2001 Monster's Ball as Ryrus Cooper
2001 Carmen: A Hip Hopera as Lt. Miller
2001 My Wife and Kids(1 episode)
2000 Island of the Dead as Robbie J
2000 Bamboozled as Mau Mau: Big Blak Afrika (Julius Hopkins)
2000 Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme as Himself
1998 Where's Marlowe? as Wilt Crawley
1997 Brooklyn South(2 episodes)
1997 Ghosts as Dante
1997 The View(1 episode)
1996 Spin City(1 episode)
1994 The Cosby Mysteries(18 episodes)
1993 Late Night with Conan O'Brien(1 episode)
1992 Here and Now(2 episodes)
1991 The Hard Way as Dead Romeos (as Dante Smith)
1990 You Take the Kids(6 episodes) as Raymond Kirkland
1988 God Bless the Child as Richard Watkins
1983 Live with Regis and Kathie Lee(1 episode)

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