Names are like suits, apparently: You can take off the one you're wearing and try another one on for size.
Hey, it worked for Sean Combs, multiple times. And people continued to love Prince even when he temporarily changed his name to something unpronounceable. So, why not change one's name after years of success being called something else?!
A very successful rapper is ditching his moniker, but not just for publicity kicks. So, who's joining the ranks of appellation-swappers like Diddy, the Lil-dropping Romeo and Bow Wow and...Cat Stevens?
Mos Def is mos definitely retiring his name. But not back to plain ole Dante Smith, the name the rapper-actor was given at birth.
Starting in 2012, he will go by Yasiin, which is also the 36th surah (or verse) of the Quran.
The "Definition" rapper converted to Islam in his teens and doesn't want to have "any moniker or separation between the self that I see and know myself as," he explained to MTV2's Sucker Free Countdown.
Cat Stevens famously changed his name to Yusuf Islam as a nod to his conversion to Islam in the 1970s. He now, however, performs and records under the single moniker Yusuf.
"Mos Def is a name that I built and cultivated over the years, it's a name that the streets taught me, a figure of speech that was given to me by the culture and by my environment, and I feel I've done quite a bit with that name," Def said. "It's time to expand and move on."
But no, said the artist soon to be known as Yasiin. He won't be offended if anyone slips up and calls him Mos Def after the name-dropping deadline.