Hip Hop’s Actor/Rapper @mosdefofficial Talks Name Change To “Yasiin Bey” & His New Style

| September 11, 2012 | 0 Comments

In a recent interview with GQ, Dante Terrell Smith better known by his stage names Mos Def and Yasiin Bey, elaborated more on his name change, retirement and sense of style. The Hip Hop superstar formerly recognized as Mos Def has since “remade himself” through TV spots, broadway appearances and now fashion as a colloborator for N.Y.C. shop Ale et Ange (Clothing in picture above.) GQ described Mos Def’s Yasiin Bey’s style as…

“his style: a genre-crashing, bohemian mix of influences from Savile Row to Michael Jackson” – GQ

A Mos by Any Other Name…
“I began to fear that Mos Def was being treated as a product, not a person, so I’ve been going by Yasiin since ’99. At first it was just for friends and family, but now I’m declaring it openly.”

Paying Homage
“When my paternal grandfather passed a few years back, I started to wear a shirt and tie every day, like he did. Michael Jackson’s death had a big impact on me, too. Right before the Ecstatic tour in 2009, I began wearing loafers and high-waisted pants. And that’s where my look started.”

Honest Goods
“Hip-hop is the last true folk art. I got involved with Ale et Ange because it represents hip-hop in a way that isn’t pandering. It’s nice to see something that’s elegant, skillful, and raw.”

Power Suits
“With guys I revere, like Marcus Garvey or Malcolm X, their look is less about style than purpose and the expression of beauty. It wasn’t just about being noticed, you know?”

“I like drawing connections between pieces and patterns that would make someone else think, ‘Those two things would never go together.’ Well, to me they do.”

So Fresh, So Clean
“I don’t have advice for people on how to dress. People should dress based on what they find beautiful. My best advice: Keep your clothes clean.”

VIDEO CLIP: I Am Yasiin Bey

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Hip Hop Historian and accomplished photo journalist

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