Image of Yasiin Bey

Yasiin Bey

1973-12-11 Brooklyn, New York, USA

Image of Yasiin Bey


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 the well-known moniker Mos Def, he 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. Mos followed 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, Mos 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. Mos completed his Broadway debut in 2002 in the Tony-nominated, Pulitzer Prize-winning, Topdog/Underdog. Mos re-teamed with Topdog playwright, Suzan Lori Parks and director George Wolfe for the off-Broadway play Fucking A, for which he was awarded an Obie Award. In 2003, Mos Def starred in Paramount Pictures' The Italian Job alongside Ed Norton, Mark Wahlberg and Charlize Theron. In 2004, Mos Def starred opposite Alan Rickman in the critically acclaimed HBO movie Something the Lord Made, for which he received a 2004 Emmy Nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor In A Miniseries Or A Movie. Def was also nominated for both a Golden Globe Award (Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture) and Golden Satellite Award (Best Actor in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television) for the same role. Mos Def continued his music career by releasing his highly anticipated and critically acclaimed sophomore solo release, The New Danger (2004). The album was met with praise from both critics and fans alike. The first single, "Sex, Love and Money" earned Def a 2005 Grammy nomination for Best Alternative/Urban Performance, and the album has been certified gold by the RIAA. The following year, he appeared alongside Bruce Willis in the crime thriller 16 Blocks (2006), in Dave Chappelle’s Block Party, and had a cameo appearance in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. Also in 2006, he released his third solo album, True Magic. The next year, he appeared in the 2007 PBS historical documentary, Prince Among Slaves, and in 2008 he played the role of Chuck Berry in Cadillac Records. In 2009, Def released the album The Ecstatic, which proved to be his second highest-charting album to date. He also appeared in the urban comedy, Next Day Air and guest-starred in an episode of the FOX TV series, House. He appeared (as himself) in the 2010 mockumentary film I’m Still Here, starring Joaquin Phoenix. Mos Def announced in September of 2011 that he had changed his name to Yasiin Bey, and would go by it henceforth. In the first month of 2016, Bey declared his retirement from both the film and music industries.


Peculiar Contrast, Perfect Light 2021-01-21
Dave Chappelle: The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize 2020-01-07
Gorillaz: Reject False Icons Himself 2019-12-16
Tour de France Focé 2016-11-16
Amy Himself 2015-07-03
Begin Again Saul 2013-09-07
Standard Operating Procedure 2013-07-07
Life of Crime Ordell Robbie 2013-09-14
Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap Himself 2012-06-15
Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest Self 2011-07-08
gorillaz: making of plastic beach Himself 2010-03-03
Bouncing Cats 2010-04-29
I'm Still Here Himself 2010-09-10
Next Day Air Eric 2009-02-06
Cadillac Records Chuck Berry 2008-12-05
Prince Among Slaves Narrator 2008-02-04
In Prison My Whole Life Himself 2008-01-18
Be Kind Rewind Mike 2008-01-20
16 Blocks Eddie Bunker 2006-03-01
Journey to the End of the Night Wemba 2006-04-21
Rap Sheet: Hip-Hop and the Cops 2006-01-01
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby Mos Def 2006-08-04
Dave Chappelle's Block Party Self - (as Mos Def) 2005-09-12
Lackawanna Blues The Bandleader 2005-02-12
Making of 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' Himself (as Mos Def) 2005-09-05
Don't Crash: The Documentary of the Making of the Movie of the Book of the Radio Series of 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' Himself 2005-09-05
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Ford Prefect 2005-04-28
The Woodsman Sgt. Lucas 2004-12-24
Something the Lord Made Vivien Thomas 2004-05-30
Civil Brand Michael Meadows 2003-08-29
Richard Pryor: I Ain't Dead Yet, #*%$#@!! Himself 2003-01-01
The Italian Job Left Ear 2003-05-30
Gil Scott-Heron: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised Himself 2003-04-14
Showtime Lazy Boy 2002-03-14
Brown Sugar Chris 'Cav' Anton Vichon 2002-10-05
Carmen: A Hip Hopera Lt. Miller 2001-05-08
Monster's Ball Ryrus Cooper 2001-06-07
Island of the Dead Robbie J 2000-11-14
Bamboozled Mau Mau: Big Blak Afrika 2000-10-06
Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme Himself 2000-04-14
Where's Marlowe? Wilt Crawley 1998-10-01
Ghosts Dante 1997-09-04
The Hard Way Dead Romeos 1991-03-08
God Bless the Child Richard Watkins 1988-03-21
jeen-yuhs Himself (Archival Footage)