Yasiin Bey, (born Dante Terrell Smith) formerly known by his stage name Mos Def, is an actor and hip hop artist from Brooklyn, New York. He is one of the founding fathers of conscious hip hop and half of the duo Black Star. Beginning in 2012, he ditched his stage name Mos Def in favor of Yasiin Bey, saying:
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.
He made his musical debut in 1998 as a part of Black Star (see Mos Def & Talib Kweli are Black Star), and then released his first solo album in 1999, Black on Both Sides to widespread acclaim.