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Mos Def Biography

Mos Def Biography

Mos Def began his music career in 1994 in the short-lived group Urban Thermo Dynamics with his younger brother DCQ and his younger sister Ces. Despite their contract with Payday Records, the group only released two singles, and their debut album Manifest Destiny was not released until 2004, when it was distributed by Illson Media. In 1996, he emerged as a solo artist and worked with De La Soul and da Bush Babees, before he released his own first single, "Universal Magnetic", which was a huge underground hit.

After signing with Rawkus Records, Mos Def and Talib Kweli formed the group Black Star, and released a full length album under the name, Mos Def and Talib Kweli are Black Star. The album was released in 1998 and featured Hi-Tek as producer on most of the tracks.

Mos Def released his solo debut Black on Both Sides, in 1999 through Rawkus Records. Def was also featured on Rawkus' influential Lyricist Lounge and Soundbombing series of compilations. After the collapse of Rawkus, he signed to Interscope/Geffen Records, which released his second solo album The New Danger in 2004.

"The New Danger" received criticism from fans and critics for its eclectic mix of several musical genres, including soul, blues and rock and roll, performed with his rock band Black Jack Johnson. Black Jack Johnson contained members of the bands Bad Brains and Living Colour.

Mos Def has drawn some criticism from his fan base about "keeping it real" after he appeared in a commercial that endorsed the GMC Denali sport utility vehicle. Mos Def's final solo album for Geffen Records,True Magic, was quietly released on December 29, 2006. 2007 saw the release of another solo album: Mos Definite. This album was released under the Frequent M (Groove Attack) label.

Throughout his music career he has received several Grammy Award nominations, first for "Ghetto Rock" from his 2004 album The New Danger, and then in 2007, when "Undeniable" was nominated for Best Rap Solo Performance.

Mos Def's background in film and theater date back to his days at New York University, studying experimental theater. He began his professional acting career at the age of 14, appearing in the TV movie God Bless the Child, starring Mare Winningham. He then played the oldest child in the short-lived family sitcom, You Take the Kids, starring Nell Carter and Roger E. Mosley. His most notable acting role before his music career was that of Bill Cosby's sidekick on the short-lived detective show, The Cosby Mysteries.

After brief appearances in Bamboozled and Monster's Ball, Mos re-invigorated his acting career with his performance as a talented rapper who is reluctant to sign to a major label in Brown Sugar. He was nominated for an Image Award and a Teen Choice Award.

In 2002, he played the role of Booth in Suzan-Lori Parks' Topdog/Underdog, a Tony-nominated and Pulitzer-winning Broadway play. He also received positive notices as the quirky Left Ear in the blockbuster hit, The Italian Job in 2003.

In television, Mos Def has appeared on Comedy Central's Chappelle's Show, and has hosted the award-winning HBO spoken word show, Def Poetry since its inception. The show's sixth season aired in 2007. He also appeared on the sitcom My Wife And Kids as the Uncle of Michael Kyle's (Damon Wayans) children.

Mos won Best Actor, Independent Movie at the 2005 Black Reel Awards for his portrayal of the skeptical Detective Sgt. Lucas in The Woodsman. For his portrayal of Vivien Thomas in HBO's film Something the Lord Made, he was nominated for an Emmy Award, a Golden Globe, and won the Image Award. He then landed the role of Ford Prefect in the 2005 movie adaptation of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.ax

In 2006, Mos Def appeared in Dave Chappelle's Block Party alongside fellow Black Star companion Talib Kweli, while also contributing to the film's soundtrack. Also, Mos Def was featured as the black banjo player in the infamous "Pixie Sketch" from Chappelle's Show: The Lost Episodes. He was later edited out of it on the DVD. Additionally, Mos Def is in the motion picture 16 Blocks along with co-stars Bruce Willis and David Morse. During the first season of Boondocks, Mos starred as "Gangstalicious". He is also set to be in Toussaint, a film about Haitian revolutionary Toussaint L'Ouverture, opposite Don Cheadle and Wesley Snipes. He made a cameo appearance playing himself in the movie Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.

He is also a co-star with Jack Black in the new movie Be Kind Rewind. The movie is about two video rental store employees(Mos Def and Jack Black) mistakenly erase the stores tapes. To hide the truth from their boss they start filming their own versions of the movies. After filming their Ghostbusters they become local celebrities until the FBI starts asking questions.

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