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Def Leppard is obviously a different band that we are, but the music work well tighter. And the audiences seem work well together too. We are opening, but we're having a good time.
I met Mos Def around that time but I didn't hook up with him until I was about 17 or 18.
I'm retiring the Mos Def name after 2011. I'm actually doing it.
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 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.
People consider Black Star a great album, and I think it's a classic album. But the fact is, both me and Mos Def have made better albums since Black Star.
So I think hip-hop is moving and is going to continue to move in the direction of rappers just being honest with themselves, whether you're talking about Common and Mos Def or Nas and 50 cent.
I can think of no one more relevant and credible in the hip-hop community to build upon Def Jam's fantastic legacy and move the company into its next groundbreaking era.
I have inherited two of the most important brands in hip-hop, Def Jam and Roc-A-Fella. Reid and Universal Music Group have given me the opportunity to manage the companies I have contributed to my whole career. I feel this is a giant step for me and the entire artist community.
There's probably a bunch of Power Stripe floating through the Def Jam offices right now.
I signed to Def Jam and within two months, I heard that Ja Rule was looking for someone to do a song with.
I think that Mos Def is the best actor, but when you talk about rappers in films, I don't really think the quality of the acting is most important because most rappers are put in movies because of the personality and people want to see that.
Look at music: I've always loved hiphop and rap, and now there's this whole progressive movement, with De La Soul and Mos Def, Common. It's some of the best stuff around.
I play the guitar. This year at the Sundance film festival, I joined the band from 'The Guitar' on stage. We warmed up for Patti Smith, and then the director Michel Gondry got on the drums to play some songs from the soundtrack to his film Be Kind Rewind with Mos Def. It was pretty mad.
I actually knew I was going to be perfect for Def Leppard, sorry I hate to say that but I knew it.
Def Leppard is a rock band that can sing.
But the irony is that because the band isn't the focus any more, it allows me the chance to enjoy being a member of Def Leppard much more.
Mos Def is one of the most creative, intelligent human beings I've had the opportunity to work with. He is fun. The entire time, he would go in and out of different characters, just for the fun of it. Awesome energy.
So So Def has been one of the most successful and consistent labels in the game in the last 10 years.
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