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YASIIN BEY AKA MOS DEF
Regarded as one of hip-hop's most introspective and insightful artists, Yasiin Bey has shaped a career that transcends music genres and artistic medium. A child of hip-hop's Golden Era, the native Brooklynite spent his childhood imbedded in the culture surrounding him as well as absorbing knowledge from across the artistic spectrum.
With the release of "Universal Magnetic" (1996) (Under Mos Def), Yasiin became an underground favorite in the hip hop world, leading to his legendary collaboration with Talib Kweli. The two formed Black Star whose debut album, Mos Def and Talib Kweli Are Black Star, would become one of the most critically acclaimed hip-hop albums. Yasiin followed that release with his 1999 solo debut, Black On Both Sides, which was certified gold and credited by critics as bringing hip-hop back to its soapbox roots.
As with his music, Yasiin has demonstrated insight and passion with his acting career, appearing in Spike Lee's Bamboozled, MTV's Carmen: A Hip Hopera, 2002's critically acclaimed Monster's Ball, Showtime, and the 2002 romantic comedy Brown Sugar, for which he received an NAACP Image Award nomination. In addition he has served as the host, music supervisor and co-executive producer for the HBO series Def Poetry and served as a writer, producer and actor on the MTV sketch comedy series Lyricist Lounge. He completed his Broadway debut in 2002 in the Tony nominated, Pulitzer Prize winning, Topdog/Underdog. Yasiin re-teamed with Topdog playwright, Suzan Lori Parks and director George Wolfe for an off-Broadway play for which he was awarded an Obie Award.
Yasiin Bey released his highly-anticipated and critically acclaimed sophomore solo release, The New Danger (Geffen Records), in October 2004. The album was met with praise from both critics and fans alike, with Rolling Stone giving it 4 Stars and hailing the album as "Ghetto rock and righteous hip-hop from dazzingly talented Def" and the New York Daily News proclaimed "No one is doing more to change our notion of how hip hop can sound." The first single, "Sex, Love and Money' earned Yasiin a 2005 Grammy nomination for Best Alternative/Urban Performance and the album has been certified gold by the RIAA.