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Mos Def Changes Name to Yasiin Bey Over Product Treatment

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Mos Def first made a name for himself with his rap skills, but the thoughtful MC now goes by a new name: Yasiin Bey.

“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,” Bey tells GQ. The new name has also influenced Bey to branch out: he can be seen on “Dexter,” on Broadway (in “A Free Man of Color”), and making waves in the fashion industry. GQ caught up with the artist formerly known as Mos Def to talk about his style, hear how he’s preserving hip-hop through fashion, and more. I’ve pulled some quotes below:

Yasiin Bey on his style… “I like drawing connections between pieces and patterns that would make someone else think,’Those two things would never go together.’ Well, to me they do.”

On representing his hip-hop roots through fashion… “Hip-hop is the last true folk art. I got involved with Ale et Ange because it represents hip-hop in a way that isn’tpandering. It’s nice to see something that’s elegant, skillful, and raw.

On what fashion advice he’d offer to others… “I don’t have advice for people on how to dress. People should dress based on what they find beautiful. My best advice: Keep your clothes clean.”

For the full interview, click here!

Photo credit: Steven Pan / GQ.

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