Image for The Artist Formerly Known As Mos Def

The Artist Formerly Known As Mos Def

Written by Amelia Schmidt on September 9, 2011

Dante Terrell Smith aka Mos Def will be aka Yasiin next year, which will be a serious sign of the times for anyone who uses ‘mos def’ in casual conversation instead of ‘most definitely’.

‘Yasiin’ is the 26th chapter of the Qu’ran and may be a reflection of Smith’s religious and political standings, having in the past claimed that Al-Qaeda were not really that bad. In a recent MTV interview, the 37 year old musician and actor said “I’m retiring the Mos Def name after 2011. I’m actually doing it. Yasiin. That’s it. 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, and I feel I’ve done quite a bit with that name and it’s time to expand and move on. Also, I didn’t want to have to deal with having any moniker or separation between the self that I see and know myself as.”

We’ll wait to see whether the change of name has any effect on Smith’s music. The name has also been referred to as “Yasiir”, with Hollywood Reporter claiming that “the new pseudonym stems from the Arabic name Yasir, which can mean rich, or one who goes against the tide.” Whatever, just as long as he doesn’t stop being awesome, alright?

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