Happy Birthday Yasiin Bey

“Since last August, explaining the retirement of ‘the mighty Mos Def’ has been part of both his solo performances and the tour with Kweli. It’s Kweli, along with Kanye West, who is a friend, whom Bey credits with helping him make the decision to proceed in his career without what now strikes him as the ‘artifice’ of a ‘nom de plume.’ (It’s worth pointing out that Kweli, which in Swahili means ‘true,’ is actually the middle name of Talib Greene — so while Talib Kweli isn’t a nom de plume, exactly, he does consider it a stage name.) It hasn’t always been easy. Responding to the Alaskan crowd’s disappointment, Bey reacted like a stand-up comedian sparring with hecklers, a mode he seems quite comfortably in: ‘You know, some people have an emotional relationship with that name, Mos Def. So do I: I made it up.’”
— Yasiin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def, turns 39 today. If you missed this over the summer it’s worth a read.