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Mos Def Quotes
- Page 3
In the early '90s, when I really started to find my voice, I was reading a lot of books, and I was moved by the writers, like Chinua Achebe, and I wanted to be able to write rhymes that were as potent as what I was reading.
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 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.
I don't rap like nobody, I don't try to sound like nobody.
I'm inspired by playwrights, novelists, poets: The value of language has been a lifelong passion of mine. I enjoy it. I'm good at it.
To me, playing an instrument and singing, all of these different things are just as natural to me as rhyming.
What I take from writers I like is their economy - the ability to use language to very effective ends.
I got my first exposure to Islam when I was 13.
I know what it feels like to have the door slammed firmly in my face, so I'm cool with that.
I'm retiring the Mos Def name after 2011. I'm actually doing it.
If 'Life in Marvelous Times' can't get on the radio, then I don't need to be on the radio.
Reckless capitalism kills black people.
That's what I've been trying to strive for - to draw a clear picture, to open up a new dimension.
I didn't want to have to deal with having any moniker or separation between the self that I see and know myself as.
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.
I don't wanna get into that space where a lot of guys now, their solo album is like eight or 10 songs with other people, you don't get an idea of who this guy is. I just wasn't interested in that.
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.
To me, the job of the artist is to provide a useful and intelligent vocabulary for the world to be able to articulate feelings they experience everyday, and otherwise wouldn't have the means to express in a meaningful and useful way.
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