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PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 20: Yasiin Bey attends the Louis Vuitton Fall/Winter 2022/2023 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on January 20, 2022 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images For Louis Vuitton)
Whatever Happened To Mos Def?
History - Science
Born Dante Smith, Mos Def has been a big name ever since he and Taleb Kwali emerged as the hip-hop duo Black Star in the late ‘90s. He started a successful solo career with his first album, “Black On Both Sides,” and went on to release three more albums over the next decades.
Over time, Mos Def shifted to a career in acting, starring in 2005’s “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” and the 2004 TV drama “What the Lord Made.” Having converted to Islam as a teenager, he changed his name to Yasiin Bey in 2011 — “Yasiin” being a reference to the 36th surah of the Qu’ran.
In January 2016, after being detained for a few weeks in South Africa while using an unofficial “world passport,” Bey announced his retirement from both music and acting. However, he has continued to perform intermittently, with his most recent effort being an unconventional album which he only plans to tour at galleries.