Our group chose the man known by many in the hip-hop world as Mos Def. He is known for being a superb lyricist, poet, and actor. We are doing two of his works named “Hip-Hop” from off his album Black on Both Sides and a poem he wrote regards to the Barclays Center named “On center.stadium.status”. Before I talk about these two works of art, let me give a brief background on Mos Def.
Mos Def parents named him Dante Terrell Smith on the 11th of December in 1973. He was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Mos def is one of 12 siblings which included step-siblings. Mos Def and several of his siblings lived with his mother in Brooklyn. The rest went on to live with their father in New Jersey. He grew up in New York City when crack became the big drug market in the 80s, during which he became beleaguered by the violence, addiction and crime but he never succumbed to its influences. At nine years old he began to love theater and hip-hop. According to “Mos Def Biography” on Bio.com, his first play was in the fifth grade, a school production, “Free to Be….You and Me” and during his freshman year in high school he got his first professional acting role in the TV movie God Bless the Child. His senior year he won a recurring role on the TV series You Take the Kids. A year later he landed a role on The Cosby Mysteries. According to IMDb Mos Def is a vegetarian and in September 2011, he announced that he has adopted the name Yasiin Bey and will discontinue using the name Mos Def by the end of the year. He is also been known as Pretty Flaco, Flaco Bey, The Mighty Mos Def, and Bezé.
According to Gale’s Biography in Context of Mos Def, in his early 20s, he changed his name to Mos Def, which is short for his favorite affirmation--"most definitely"--which was his typical response when friends asked him if he wanted to hang out. Around this time Mos Def launched his first group, called Urban Thermal Dynamics, along with his siblings. “Initially regarded as one of the most promising rappers to emerge in the late '90s, Mos Def turned to acting in subsequent years as music became a secondary concern for him. He did release new music from time to time, including albums such as The New Danger (2004), but his output was erratic and seemingly governed by whim. Mos Def nonetheless continued to draw attention, especially from critics and underground rap fans, and his classic breakthrough albums -- Black Star (1998), a collaboration with Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek; and Black on Both Sides (1999), his solo debut -- continued to be revered, all the more so as time marched forward. Mos Def often used his renown for political purposes, protesting in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the Jena Six incident in 2007, for instance.” (About Mos Def, MTV Artist).
Even though he had enormous success with Black on Both Sides, he returned to his acting career from 2000-04. During this time period he appeared in several movies such as Bamboozled (2000), Carmen: A Hip Hopera (2001),...