Mos Def Retires from Music and Entertainment

Rapper Mos Def, now known as Yasiin Bey, announced he is retiring from the music industry and Hollywood, effective immediately.


A message from Yasiin Bey was posted to Kanye West’s website (transcript here) in which he announces that he is retiring from the entertainment industry and will release a final album later this year. The message starts out as a rap, based off West’s “No More Parties in L.A.,” discussing the immigration troubles he is having in South Africa. Bey was arrested for overstaying his travel visa and trying to use a false document. He was detained while trying to use a “world passport” to leave the country. In the rap, he claims the passport is legitimate: “Anyone can do the research about the world passport; it’s not a fictitious document.”

Regarding his retirement, he says:

The state of South Africa has interfered with my ability to move or to even fulfill my professional obligations unnecessarily. … And I know it’s been a lot of chatter about what’s going on, you know, people are running to the press, because that’s just…you know, a money making machine. So, it’s another exploitative measure to turn this into some soap opera, some tele-novella, and I have no interest in it. Furthermore, related but not directly related to this: I’m retiring from the music recording industry as it is currently assembled today, and also from Hollywood, effective immediately. I am releasing my final album this year. Um…and that’s that

Brooklyn’s Mos Def has performed on albums by Da Bush Babees and De La Soul, and he formed the group Black Star with his friend Talib Kweli. He received six Grammy Award nominations between 2005 and 2011. He also has a Hollywood career that includes roles in Bamboozled, Monster’s Ball, The Italian Job and 2005’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, along with a cameo in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. He is best known for being a powerful force behind the 1990s underground hip hop scene and an outspoken advocate against police brutality and for human rights.