Rapper/actor Mos Def has been going by that rap moniker since beginning his rap career in the mid-1990s. But when 2011 comes to a close, he will no longer refer to himself as such.
In a recent interview with MTV2’s Suckerfree, the New York rap vet revealed that he plans to retire his “Mos Def” moniker at the end of the year … because it’s run its course and he wants to move on.
“I’m retiring the Mos Def name after 2011. That’s it,” Mos told MTV2’s Peter Rosenberg. “Mos Def is a name that I built and cultivated over the years. It’s a name that the streets taught me, 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 and it’s time to expand and move on.”
“I also didn’t wanna have to deal with having any moniker, or any separation between the self that I see and know myself as, and [what people know me as],” he continued.
In 2012, Mos Def will be instead begin calling himself, simply “Yasiin.”
The rapper was born Dante Terrell Smith. However, as a teenager, he took his shahada, the Muslim declaration of faith. At press time, it’s unclear if “Yasiin” is a name he adopted when becoming a Muslim then, or if it’s a name he’s adopted more recently.
Mos Def is set to appear in Showtime television series, “Dexter,” where he will play Brother Sam, an ex-con who has supposedly found religion despite finding himself in violent situations.