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Mos Def a.k.a. Yasmiin Bey

Dante Terrell Smith (born 11 December 1973) is an American actor, hip-hop artist, and Emcee known by the stage names Mos Def or Yasiin Bey.

He played Brother Sam, a body shop owner and an ex-convict who turned to religion, in the Showtime series DEXTER.


Season Six:


Prior to his career in music, Mos Def entered public life as a child actor, having played roles in television movies, sitcoms, and theater, some of which were under the name Dante Beze. Since the early 2000s, Mos Def has been known for his roles in films such as Something the Lord Made, Next Day Air, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, 16 Blocks, Be Kind Rewind, The Italian Job, The Woodsman, Bamboozled, and Brown Sugar. He is also known as the host of Def Poetry Jam, which aired on HBO between 2002 and 2007.

Mos Def began his rap music career in 1994. ranked him #14 on their list of the Top 50 MCs of Our Time, while The Source ranked him #23 on their list of the Top 50 Lyricists of All Time. AllMusic called him one of the most promising rappers to emerge in the late 1990s.

Solo albums

  • Black on Both Sides (1999)
  • The New Danger (2004)
  • True Magic (2006)
  • The Ecstatic (2009)
  • Negus in Natural Person (TBA)

Collaborative albums

  • Mos Def & Talib Kweli are Black Star (with Talib Kweli, as Black Star) (1998)
  • Manifest Destiny (with Ces and DCQ, as UTD) (2004)
  • Dec 99th (with Ferrari Sheppard, as Dec 99th) (2016)
  • As Promised (with Mannie Fresh) (TBA)

Personal Life

Mos Def was born in Brooklyn, New York City, the eldest of twelve children and step-children. He was raised by his mother in Brooklyn, while his father lived in New Jersey. He attended Philippa Schuyler Middle School 383 in Brooklyn. He dropped out of high school during sophomore year. At age nineteen, he took his shahada, the Muslim declaration of faith. Mos Def married Maria Yepes in 1996. In 2006, he filed for divorce. He has four other children. In 2016, Mos Def was ordered to leave South Africa and not return for five years, having stayed in the country illegally on an expired tourist visa granted in 2013. He has been vocal on several social and political causes, including police brutality, the idea of American exceptionalism, and the state of African Americans.


  • Mos Def is a slang term that means "most definitely."
  • Since 2011, he no longer uses the name "Mos Def" and has jokingly bestowed it to Stephen Colbert.
  • He is a vegetarian.
  • His nicknames include Pretty Flaco, Flaco Bey, The Mighty Mos Def, Bezé, and Mister Definitely.