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Mos Def Biography


Home > Music > M > Mos Def > Biography


Birth Name: Dante Terrell Smith-Bey
Born: 1973/12/11
Birth Place: Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York City
Years Active: 1994-present
Genres: Alternative Hip Hop


Dante Terrell Smith (born December 11, 1973) is an American actor and MC known by the stage name Mos Def. 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.

Mos Def debuted on Rawkus Records in 1998 in the duo Black Star with rapper Talib Kweli. "Definition", the single from Black Star's self-titled debut album, reached #60 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #3 on the Hot Rap Singles chart.

In 1999, Mos Def released his solo debut album “Black on Both Sides,” which was certified gold in the US and featured the singles "Ms. Fat Booty", which reached #20 on the US Billboard Hot Rap Singles chart, and "Umi Says", which reached #60 on the UK Singles Chart.

Mos Def performed on many compilations from the Rawkus Records label and other independent compilation albums. Among them were the single "Oh No" with Pharaohe Monch and Nate Dogg that reached #83 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Hot Rap Singles. In 2001, his single "Jam on It" from “Underground Airplay Version 1.0” reached #23 on the Hot Rap Tracks.

The next year, he appeared on the track "Brown Sugar (Extra Sweet)" on the soundtrack to the film “Brown Sugar.” Featuring Faith Evans, "Brown Sugar (Extra Sweet)" reached #95 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.

In 2004, Mos Def released his second album “The New Danger,” in which he experimented with other genres such as rock. Single "Sex, Love & Money" charted at #90 on the R&B chart. His next album, “Tru3 Magic,” was released in 2006. Its single "Undeniable" charted on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles Sales chart and won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance in 2008.

Mos Def's fifth album “The Ecstatic” was released in 2009 on Downtown Records with distribution by Universal Records. To date, Mos Def has sold over 780,000 albums in the US.