Dante Terrell Smith born December 11, 1973. Better known by his Stage name Mos Def, Dante is an African American rapper and actor. Mos Def started his rap career as a member of the Native Tongue Posse collective and by guest appearances on albums by Da Bush Babees and Da La Soul. Mos Def released a well-received album with Talib Kweli as Black Star, and was a major force in the late 1990’s. He was part of an underground Hip Hop explosion spearheaded by Rawkus Records. His name comes from his frequent use of an abbreviated 'Mos Def' in place of the words "most definitely".
Initially recognized for his musical output, Mos Def's Movie screen work since the early 2000’s has established him as one of only a handful of rappers who have garnered critical approval for their acting work. Mos Def was also an outspoken critic on social and political issues, and was particularly vocal in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
In my book, The Marks Left Behind, the poetry that is written deals with many of the issues that Mos Def has been vocal about on stage during his Spoken word presentations on HBO. Mos Def has been an inspiration and is one of the reasons that I wrote The Marks Left Behind.
Mos Def has definitely inspired many of the top Hip Hop, acting and poetry writers of the world and is one of the biggest reasons that open mic has become so popular. As a matter of fact, when you mention Mos Def, the first thing that comes to mind is poetry. I believe that Mos Def is a real life African American success story, and will go down in history as one of the top Poets.