TVD Ticket Giveaway: Yasiin Bey aka Mos Def at the 9:30 Club, 2/20

At the beginning of 2012, he took the name Yasiin Bey. But his bent toward social consciousness stays true to the grammatical modifier we “most definitely” know him as, Mos Def. The actor and emcee will appear onstage Monday, February 20th, at the 9:30 Club.

Mos Def comes from a pedigree of politically aware lyrical artists originating out of Golden Era of Hip-Hop. In New York, where the art form took shape, there were rappers that quickly shot to the mainstream (Beastie Boys, Kid ‘n Play). And then there emerged a sub-culture of artists that rejected the “rapper identity.” These artists became sort of a side effect of the pop celebrity that record labels took ease with marketing.

Instead of the glittery, commercialized oeuvre groomed for wider audiences, emcees including Def took to Afrocentricity and racial injustice for subject matter. Like forebears Public Enemy, Mos Def’s lyrics spoke of the consequences of violence as opposed to the act itself.

After his start with the Urban Thermo Dynamics on Rawkus Records, Mos Def partnered with Talib Kweli to form Blackstar on the same label. Their debut, Mos Def & Talib Kweli are Black Star carried its weight as one of the best-reviewed albums of 1998. “Definition,” most notably, received a spot in VH1’s 100 Greatest Songs of Hip-Hop.

Black on Both Sides, Mos Def’s first solo effort followed. But it was on 2004’s The New Danger, released by Interscope/Geffen Records, that he began to spread his wings. Danger showcased a unique blend of hip-hop, soul, funk and blues. From the symphonic, cut-time groove “Sex, Love and Money” to the lovelorn, mood piece “The Beggar,” Mos Def proved hip-hop music has broken the musical bars, so to speak. Hip-hop now expands well beyond the limitations of what used to be scratching records on a turntable.

This year, Mos Def, hits the restart button with Yasiin Bey, his new moniker. He’s transcended past what we listeners identify as a rapper. His musical style flows in unison with the tao of emcee himself. Hip-hop provides; it gives back to the fundamental genres that gave it life.

Of course, Mos Def isn’t the first artist to change his name. Remember when the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard announced to Vibe he’d become Big Baby Jesus?

Tell us the before-and-after names of a musician you like (don’t limit to rappers), and submit your answers below.

The deadline is Monday (2/20) at noon. The winner must confirm tickets via email by 3pm for the show that evening.

Bismillahir rahmanir rahim.

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