Dante Terrell Smith (born December 11, 1973), better known by the stage names Mos Def /'mo?s 'd?f/ and Yasiin Bey /jæ'si?n 'be?/, is an American actor and hip hop recording artist from Brooklyn, New York City, New York. He started his hip hop career in a group called Urban Thermo Dynamics, after which he appeared on albums by Da Bush Babees and De La Soul. With Talib Kweli, he formed the duo Black Star, which released the album Black Star in 1998. He was a major force in late 1990s underground hip hop while with Rawkus Records. As a solo artist he has released the albums Black on Both Sides in 1999, The New Danger in 2004, True Magic in 2006, and The Ecstatic in 2009.Since the early 2000s, Mos Def has become an actor with roles in films Something the Lord Made, Next Day Air, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Be Kind Rewind, The Italian Job, and his portrayal of Brother Sam in the American drama series Dexter. Mos Def has also been active in several social and political causes.