Brooklyn-born rapper Mos Def may have made some questionable moves in his seventeen-year-long career — Carmen: A Hip Hopera, anyone? — but he has always managed to retain a hefty bit of real estate in my heart, a space nestled between celebrity appearances on Yo Gabba Gabba! and Michael C. Hall.
Yet, Mos' recent decision may just be his most questionable one yet, confusing both my heart and my highly-organized iTunes: in an interview with MTV2's Sucker Free, the insightful MC announced his plans to retire his rap moniker. Yes, in a Puff Daddy-esque move, the man legally known as Dante Terrell Smith will renounce the name "Mos Def." Come 2012, Mos Def will begin recording music under the name Yasiin. The actor-musician explained his decision by saying that he is ready to move in a new direction:
Mos Def is a name that I built and cultivated over the years, it's a name that the streets taught me, a figure of speech that was given to me by the culture and by my environment, and I feel I've done quite a bit with that name and it's time to expand and move on. Also, I didn't want to have to deal with having any moniker or separation between the self that I see and know myself as.
The identity overhaul may be surprising but, in the end, what's in a name? That which we call a rapper by any other name would flow as tightly. Now, can someone please get Yasiin to record another Black Star album?