Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mos Def

Dante Terrell Smith better known to the world as Mos Def was born on December 11th, 1973. He has since become a Grammy-nominated rapper and a Golden Globe- and Emmy-nominated actor. His stage name 'Mos Def', which, contrary to popular belief, does not mean 'MOSt DEFinetly', but rather that he thinks he is the 'Most Def', meaning 'cool' in old slang. Right on Brother, I too feel I'm Mos Def! lol

Mos Def was born in the Roosevelt Houses of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York City. (Aren't they all?) He is the son of Darrell Toler. He has two younger brothers, Abdul Rahman (a.k.a. "Gold Medal Man", who is Mos' full-time DJ) and Anwar Superstar. He also has a younger sister, Ces (Casey) Smith. Mos Def and his brothers are all converts to Islam. Mos Def was first exposed to Islam at age 13 by his father. He became a Muslim at age 19 after getting to know Muslim rappers including Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Q-Tip of the group A Tribe Called Quest. Mos Def grew up during the golden age of hip-hop and has been rapping and acting since he was 9 years old. For high school, Mos Def attended Talent Unlimited performing arts school in Manhattan.

Mos Def started his Hip-Hop career in a group called Urban Thermo Dynamics, after which he appeared on albums by Da Bush Babees and De La Soul. With Talib Kweli, he formed the duo Black Star, who released the well-received album Black Star in 1998. He was a major force in the late 1990s underground hip hop explosion spearheaded by Rawkus Records. As a solo artist he has released the albums Black on Both Sides in 1999, The New Danger in 2004, and True Magic, 2006.
Initially recognized for his musical output, Mos Def's screen work since the early 2000s has established him as one of only a handful of rappers who have garnered critical approval for their acting work. Mos Def has also been active on several social and political issues, and was particularly vocal in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

^So Musical, So New York^
Mos Def is...
'MOSt DEFinetly' coo
Amongs many musical achievments he's also begun his acting career which is going very well if I say so myself.
Mos Def's background in film and theater date back to his days at New York University, studying experimental theater. He began his professional acting career at the age of 14, appearing in the TV movie God Bless the Child, starring Mare Winningham. He then played the oldest child in the short-lived family sitcom, You Take the Kids, starring Nell Carter and Roger E. Mosley. His most notable acting role before his music career was that of Bill Cosby's sidekick on the short-lived detective show, The Cosby Mysteries. He also starred in a 1996 Visa check card commercial featuring Deion Sanders.

After brief appearances in Bamboozled and Monster's Ball, Mos re-invigorated his acting career with his performance as a talented rapper who is reluctant to sign to a major label in Brown Sugar. (You slackin if you haven't seen this one) He was nominated for an Image Award and a Teen Choice Award.
In 2002, he played the role of Booth in Suzan-Lori Parks' Topdog/Underdog, a Tony-nominated and Pulitzer-winning Broadway play. He also received positive notices as the quirky Left Ear in the blockbuster hit, The Italian Job in 2003.
In television, Mos Def has appeared on Comedy Central's Chappelle's Show, (Both these dudes together = Stomach stitches and lack of oxyhen from laughter) and has hosted the award-winning HBO spoken word show, Def Poetry since its inception. The show's sixth season aired in 2007. He also appeared on the sitcom My Wife And Kids as the old school friend of Michael Kyle's (Damon Wayans). This was the episode where he played Mike's Old friend who was a clown. After years of not seeing each other he returned in a wheelchair, as a result of a car accident I believe. (Youtube that).

Mos won Best Actor, Independent Movie at the 2005 Black Reel Awards for his portrayal of the skeptical Detective Sgt. Lucas in The Woodsman. For his portrayal of Vivien Thomas in HBO's film Something the Lord Made. These performances have earned him nominated for an Emmy Award, a Golden Globe, and won the Image Award. He then landed the role of Ford Prefect in the 2005 movie adaptation of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
In 2006, Mos Def appeared in Dave Chappelle's Block Party alongside fellow Black Star companion Talib Kweli, while also contributing to the film's soundtrack. Also, Mos Def was featured as the black banjo player in the infamous "Pixie Sketch" from Chappelle's Show: The Lost Episodes. He was later edited out of it on the DVD. Additionally, Mos Def is in the motion picture 16 Blocks along with co-stars Bruce Willis and David Morse. Mos has a recurring guest role on Boondocks, starring as "Gangstalicious." He is also set to be in Toussaint, a film about Haitian revolutionary Toussaint L'Ouverture, opposite Don Cheadle and Wesley Snipes. He made a cameo appearance playing himself in the movie Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. (The thought of that just now made me chuckle lol)
He also co-stars with Jack Black in the Michel Gondry movie Be Kind Rewind, (and despite being a Big Mos Def fan, I cant put my dislike for Jack Black aside for long enough to sit through this movie) playing a video rental store employee whose best friend Jerry (played by Jack Black) accidentally erases the store's tapes. The two protagonists then decide to refilm the deleted movies, becoming local celebrities in the process.
Mos Def portrays Chuck Berry in the 2008 film Cadillac Records for which he was nominated for a Black Reel Award and an Image Award.
Personal Thoughts:
This man is in my opinion what you call a very talented person. A great rapper, and actor who doesn't remind you of either or when your watching him do either. I dont remember exactly when I heard him for the first time but I definetly remember 'Umi's Song' and 'Ms. Fat Booty' Now you tell me those aren't Dope! lol I'm a huge fan of Mos Def and I feel he's one of the people in the lime light who tends to be overlooked by most. So check out more of his work if your not already familiar with it.

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