Mos Def plans on retiring his name
September 7th, 2011
05:46 PM ET

Mos Def plans on retiring his name

A Mos Def by any other name will of course still be as fresh, and the 37-year-old rapper/actor has decided to switch it up.

Born Dante Terrell Smith, the Brooklyn MC revealed to MTV's Sucker Free at last weekend's "Rock the Bells" that he's planning to put the name Mos Def out to pasture, and instead go by "Yasiin."

"I'm retiring the Mos Def name after 2011," he told MTV. "I didn't want to have to deal with having any moniker or any separation between the self that I see [and what people refer to me as]."

And if you see him in the streets and accidentally yell out "Mos!," don't worry about it - the artist says he'd understand.

"Mos Def is a name that I cultivated over the years, and it's a name that the streets taught me," he says. "A figure of speech that was given to me by the culture and by my environment. I feel I've done quite a bit with that name. It's time to expand and move on."

Filed under: Celebrities • Music

soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. icon design

    It is a pity, that now I can not express – I am late for a meeting. I will return – I will necessarily express the opinion on this question.

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    September 14, 2012 at 2:08 am | Report abuse |
  2. Magoss

    Glad to see that this site works well on my Google phone , eeyvrthing I want to do is functional. Thanks for keeping it up to date with the latest.

    February 13, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jag Off

    First off..Who Cares!...about this mumbling, peanut butter on the roof of his mouth, stupid name, no talent, thieving, brotha!...BAM! crack rawks!

    September 9, 2011 at 4:19 am | Report abuse |

    For the posts that don't know who YASIIN a.k.a. MOS DEF is....well he is one of the best rappers of all time!!!!!!!!! Go check out some of his music!

    September 8, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. A Big Fan

    Mos Def is one of the BEST Hip Hop Artist out there and forever will be. Every track he touches is soulful and REAL. I wish these youngins in the game today knew what real RAP is. Nobody cares about how many girls you sleep with or how much money you have. Hip Hop makes you think, makes you feel! And for those saying he is an awful person are totally wrong. I worked for a limousine company and one of our drivers picked him up from the airport and took him home to NY one night, the driver knowing I was a big fan asked him to call me and he did. He was so down to earth and real even at 2am! Mos Def you can call yourself anything and I will still listen man!

    September 8, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ER

    One of the nastiest men ive ever had the displeasure of meeting, and it was years ago
    and ive never forgotten it. Maybe with that name, his nasty disposition will leave as well...

    September 8, 2011 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Naran

      M1 Student Price...[...]certainly. Hey, I would be gnteitg a BlackBerry soon. I had thought it would be compatible[...]...

      February 13, 2012 at 2:44 am | Report abuse |
  7. SoSoulful

    I'm going to have to get calling him Yasiin. If Sean "P.Diddy/Puffy/Puff Daddy/Swag" Combs can change his name 18 TIMES...then why can't Mos Def do that....just saying. No matter what his name is though, he's definitly one of the best lyricist and underrated hip-hop artist in the game, on top of being a great actor (can't wait to see him on the new season of Dexter on Showtime).

    September 8, 2011 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
    • mettle69

      "If Sean 'P.Diddy/Puffy/Puff Daddy/Swag' Combs can change his name 18 TIMES...then why can't Mos Def do that....just saying."

      No one said he can't; we're just saying it's stupid to do so. Just sayin'.

      September 8, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Locode

    He should change his name to Yashin and try out for the Islanders.

    I'm sad though, this totally kills the chances of him doing an album with Def Leppard. Mos Def Leppard would have been killer.

    September 8, 2011 at 3:42 am | Report abuse |
  9. Old School

    I love the name Mos Def. Had a poetic, philosophical flare to it. 😛

    Yasiin?? Can't get with that.

    September 8, 2011 at 12:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Locode

      He should change his name to Yashin and try out for the Islanders.

      September 8, 2011 at 3:41 am | Report abuse |
  10. dude on the corner

    How bout you change it to Mostly Deaf? can't sing worth a d@mn!

    September 7, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • SoSoulful

      CLEARLY you don't listen to Mos Def music. Though he has been known to sing a track or two....he's a MC, LYRICIST, RAPPER, POET. Now you facts before commenting!!

      September 8, 2011 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  11. brian

    alas, the universe will finally be in balance. glad he got that sorted out.

    September 7, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Londyn

    Btw I love both of his names

    September 7, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Londyn

    My sentiments exactly Hiro the Eighth Samurai.

    September 7, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Happy Cow

    Yeah. MOOOOOO. : ) He should choose a good moo cow name. Maybe MOOOOS DEF or something happy like. MOOOOO : ) I surely hope everyone is doing ok. Maybe things will get better for everyone one day. MOOOOOO : )

    September 7, 2011 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. jurby

    who? never heard of him and really don't care who the guy is...

    September 7, 2011 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hiro the Eighth Samurai

      And you felt it was so important to tell us about your ignorance and lack of concern? Have you received enough personal attention in your life? Are you that insecure and jealous? Bet you don't even know, do you?

      September 7, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Melanie

      All I can tell you, is that he really is worth checking out if you do not know who he is.

      September 8, 2011 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  16. Superhiro

    Are you guys serious? What's wrong with your real names? You're gonna knock a musician for using an alias? Is grasping for straws that fun?

    September 7, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  17. derp

    have an idea you self important talentless douzshebag, why not just call yourself Dante Terrell Smith?

    September 7, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Anomic Office Drone

    What's wrong with being Dante Terrell Smith?

    September 7, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Superhiro

    Man, that's weird. I dunno if I could ever call him anything other than Mos Def. The name's almost iconic at this point.

    September 7, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • derp

      The only thing I associate with Mos Def, is that he is most definitely a douzshebag.

      September 7, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |

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