Yasiin Bey - Rotten Tomatoes

Yasiin Bey



Mos Def may seem, to the casual observer, like a rare example of a musician successfully transitioning into acting, but in truth, his acclaimed music career did not take off until long after he'd cemented himself as a working actor. Nonetheless, the man has built both his music and film careers on a foundation of integrity, earning him critical praise and audience approval for both. His contributions to the underground hip-hop scene started with the 1996 single "Universal Magnetic," a rare example of introspection in a genre dominated by blustering and callousness. Def's film debut, however, came almost ten years before, when he appeared in the 1988 TV movie God Bless the Child at the age of 15. Then going by his birth name, Dante Terrell Smith, Mos Def landed appearances on shows like Here and Now, The Cosby Mysteries, Brooklyn South, Spin City, and NYPD Blue. The spots sustained his career throughout the '90s, as did his roles in feature films like Bamboozled and MTV's Carmen: A Hip Hopera. Slowly but steadily becoming a recognizable face in acting, Mos Def continued to take parts in high-quality films, even if this meant a lower profile for himself as an actor. His supporting roles in Monster's Ball, Brown Sugar, The Italian Job, and The Woodsman, however, garnered him attention on talent alone. In 2004, he co-starred in the HBO movie Something the Lord Made with Alan Rickman and was honored with an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie, along with Rickman. By the time Def appeared in 2005's Golden Globe award-winning HBO miniseries Lackawanna Blues alongside Terrence Howard and S. Epatha Merkerson, he was a recognized and sought-after face in film. Def soon afterward donned a British accent for a leading role in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, giving audiences a taste of his comedic skills -- which were also on display in his recurring role on the hit Comedy Central series Chappelle's Show, as well as Michel Gondry's retro comedy Be Kind, Rewind -- which found the actor playing a hapless video store clerk opposite Jack Black. Increasingly versatile, Def was just as effective as a key witness hoping to avoid assassination in Richard Donner's 16 Blocks as he was as legendary rock & roller Chuck Berry in 2008's Cadillac Records. Back on the small screen, Def's recurring role as the haunted Brother Sam on Showtime's Dexter found the actor earning even more critical praise in 2011.

Photos

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
95% Amy
  • Actor
2015
65% Life Of Crime
  • Ordell Robbie
2014
83% Begin Again
  • Saul
2014
31% A Man's Story
  • Actor
2012
89% Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap
  • Actor
2012
57% Re:Generation
  • Actor
2012
No Score Yet Number One with a Bullet
  • Actor
2009
13% Labor Day
  • Actor
2009
21% Next Day Air
  • Eric
2009
80% ReGeneration
  • Actor
2009
67% Cadillac Records
  • Chuck Berry
2008
66% Be Kind Rewind
  • Mike
2008
No Score Yet Prince Among Slaves
  • Narrator
2008
38% In Prison My Whole Life
  • Actor
2008
No Score Yet Black August: A Celebration of Hip-Hop and Our Freedom Fighters
  • Actor
2008
No Score Yet A History of DJ Krush
  • Actor
2007
No Score Yet Journey to the End of the Night
  • Wemba
2007
88% Coachella
  • Actor
2006
72% Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
  • Himself
2006
56% 16 Blocks
  • Eddie Bunker
2006
92% Dave Chappelle's Block Party
  • Actor
2006
No Score Yet Journey to the End of the Night
  • Actor
2006
No Score Yet Rap Sheet: Hip-Hop & The Cops
  • Actor
2006
No Score Yet Alicia Keys: Unplugged
  • Actor
2005
60% The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
  • Ford Prefect
2005
71% Lackawanna Blues
  • Bandleader
2005
No Score Yet Independent Lens
  • Actor
2005
No Score Yet Shades of Hip Hop - Cypher
  • Actor
2005
No Score Yet Stranger: Bernie Worrell on Earth
  • Actor
2005
88% The Woodsman
  • Sgt. Lucas
2004
No Score Yet Something the Lord Made
  • Vivien Thomas
2004
No Score Yet Juvies
  • Poetry Narrator
2004
No Score Yet Devil's Music
  • Actor
2004
No Score Yet Richard Pryor - I Ain't Dead Yet #%$#@!! Uncensored
  • Actor
2004
No Score Yet Shades of Hip Hop - Resurrection
  • Actor
2004
16% Civil Brand
  • Michael Meadows
2003
73% The Italian Job
  • Left Ear
2003
No Score Yet From the Outside Looking In
  • Actor
2003
66% Brown Sugar
  • Chris
2002
25% Showtime
  • Lazy Boy
2002
85% Monster's Ball
  • Ryrus Cooper
2002
No Score Yet European Muslims and Eastern Christians: The Broken Mirrors
  • Actor
2002
No Score Yet Scratch vs. Freestyle
  • Actor
2002
No Score Yet The Freshest Kids
  • Actor
2001
No Score Yet Carmen: A Hip Hopera
  • Lt. Miller
2001
48% Bamboozled
  • Big Black Africa
2000
89% Freestyle
  • Actor
2000
No Score Yet Island of the Dead
  • Actor
2000
17% Where's Marlowe?
  • Wilt Crawley
1999
No Score Yet Ghosts
  • Dante
1997

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT
No Score Yet Late Night With Jimmy Fallon
2009-2014
  • Performer
No Score Yet Real Time With Bill Maher
2003
  • Panelist
  • Appearing
No Score Yet House
2004-2012
  • Lee
No Score Yet Independent Lens
1999
  • Appearing
No Score Yet Colbert Report
2005-2014
  • Guest
No Score Yet Voces on PBS
2006-2015
  • Appearing
No Score Yet The Boondocks
2005-2014
  • Voice
80% Dexter
2006-2013
  • Brother Sam
No Score Yet Austin City Limits
1983
  • Performer

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