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Regarded as one of hip-hop's most introspective and insightful artists, MOS DEF has shaped a career that transcends music genres and artistic media. The Brooklynite spent his childhood surrounded by hip-hop culture as well as absorbing knowledge from across the artistic spectrum.
Mos Def's Universal Magnetic (1996) became an underground favorite and led to a collaboration with Talib Kweli, Mos Def and Talib Kweli Are…Black Star, which became one of the most critically acclaimed hip-hop albums. Mos followed that release with his 1999 solo debut, Black on Both Sides, which was certified gold and credited by critics as bringing hip-hop back to its soapbox roots. Mos Def's sophomore solo release, The New Danger (Geffen Records), is scheduled for release in October.
An equally successful acting career runs parallel to his musical work. He has appeared in Spike Lee's Bamboozled, MTV's Carmen: A Hip Hopera, 2002's critically acclaimed Monster's Ball, and the 2002 romantic comedy Brown Sugar, for which he received an NAACP Image Award nomination. He made his Broadway debut in 2002 in the Tony-nominated, Pulitzer Prize-winning, Topdog/Underdog, and re-teamed with its playwright, Suzan Lori Parks, and director George Wolfe for the off-Broadway play, Fucking A, for which he received an Obie Award.
In 2003 Mos Def co-starred in Paramount Pictures' The Italian Job. In 2004 he starred opposite Alan Rickman in the critically acclaimed HBO movie Something the Lord Made, for which he received an Emmy nomination. Upcoming big-screen releases are The Woodsman with Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick and A Confederacy of Dunces, starring Drew Barrymore, Olympia Dukakis, Will Ferrell, and Lily Tomlin. He stars as "Ford Prefect" in Spyglass Entertainment's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, set for release in April.