Image Credit: Charley Gallay/Getty Images
Following a lengthy line of rappers that have hung up their show names, rapper Mos Def says he’s definitely giving up his rhyme alias come 2012.
Last Saturday at Governors Island for Rock the Bells, where he was performing as one half of Black Star, the artist born Dante Smith revealed that he’s changing his name to Yasiin. After more than a decade in the business, though, he won’t be mad is you slip up and call him “Mos.”
“No, no, not at all,” he said to MTV. “’Mos Def’ is a name that I built and cultivated through the years… I feel that I’ve done quite a bit with that name. It’s time to expand and move on.”
By “move on,” he’s likely referring to his promising career as an actor. He’s already starred in movies like The Italian Job, Cadillac Records, and 16 Blocks. He’s also set to begin a stint on the next season of Dexter.
He’s usually credited as Mos Def during cast listings. But his several identities will soon just be that one.
“I also don’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],” he continued.
At press time, his publicist wasn’t able to confirm what Mos’ full name will be after it’s changed or if he’ll simply just be Yasiin.
To varying degrees of significance, other rappers have changed their names. T.I was originally Tip, but changed his name because Q-Tip was signed to his label first. The Wu Tang Clan’s Ol’ Dirty Bastard changed up his grimy name after an epiphany of sorts to Big Baby Jesus. And Bad Boy label head Sean Combs arrived at Diddy, following Puff Daddy and P. Diddy because, well, because he felt like it.
Who’s name change do you appreciate the most? Let us know.
Rock the Bells: Lauryn Hill, Nas, Erykah Badu and more live at NYC’s Governors Island
EW’s review of Mos Def and Talib Kweli Are Black Star