Words matter. These are the best Mos Def Quotes, and they’re great for sharing with your friends.
I guess something that you love to do, you gotta ease up off it and give it a little space, come back and be fresh to it.
That idea of peace and love toward humanity shouldn’t be nationalistic or denominational. It should be a chief concern for all mankind.
I don’t wanna get into that space where a lot of guys now, their solo album is like eight or 10 songs with other people, you don’t get an idea of who this guy is. I just wasn’t interested in that.
I was taught when there’s somethin’ you can change around keep quiet, you got nothin’ to complain about.
I’m a passionate person. I’m a lot of things, like most people are. Most people are dynamic. The focus is not on me though, I’m a screen. The aim is to always keep myself in the position where the screen is clear.
Focused. I’m a hustler. And my hustle is trying to figure out the best ways to do what I like without having to do much else.
If ‘Life in Marvelous Times’ can’t get on the radio, then I don’t need to be on the radio.
I’m retiring the Mos Def name after 2011. I’m actually doing it.
Everything’s got space between it, the planets, trees, your eyes. Your eyes get too close together, it’s a whole different world. You can lose perspective.
I don’t mind being black. I’m black out loud. It’s more than the people that they are, it’s the condition that they represent.
I come from a family of very devout, praying people. That idea of peace and love toward humanity shouldn’t be nationalistic or denominational. It should be a chief concern for all mankind.
To me, playing an instrument and singing, all of these different things are just as natural to me as rhyming.
I don’t hate nobody. I hate certain conditions that are inflicted upon the people – and they’re helpless with it.
That’s what I’ve been trying to strive for – to draw a clear picture, to open up a new dimension.
I don’t want to waste anyone’s time or money. I want to give people some truth and positive heart lift.
I’m not shy about heated debate or passionate discourse, but when people get crazy or rude, that’s a buzz kill. There’s got to be a better code of conduct, some basic etiquette.
I feel like being into the beat of your own drum has become too prominent in the culture.
Reckless capitalism kills black people.
What I take from writers I like is their economy – the ability to use language to very effective ends.
I’ve always loved rhyming. I love language.
I just don’t think it’s very dignified to ask people to like you. You can just wind up being somebody’s ottoman.
African art is functional, it serves a purpose. It’s not a dormant. It’s not a means to collect the largest cheering section. It should be healing, a source a joy. Spreading positive vibrations.
What I take from writers I like is their economy – the ability to use language to very effective ends. The ability to have somebody read something and see it, or for somebody to paint an entire landscape of visual imagery with just sheets of words – that’s magical.
When people say, ‘I don’t see you enough,’ well just because you don’t see me don’t mean I don’t exist, or just ’cause you haven’t heard me don’t mean I haven’t been making noise. But if I keep making noise, you’ll pick up.
I like to read the ‘Financial Times’ when I’m traveling. ‘Economist.’ ‘Ad Busters.’
Record companies are not necessarily interested in you realizing your artistic dream. The bottom line is that they got to sell records.
With guys I revere, like Marcus Garvey or Malcolm X, their look is less about style than purpose and the expression of beauty. It wasn’t just about being noticed, you know?
I can’t control what people think. I’m not trying to manipulate people’s thoughts or sentiments. I write all the time. You have to experience life, make observations, and ask questions. It’s machine-like how things are run now in hip-hop, and my ambitions are different.
I never had any ambitions of being a movie star or anything like that, but you know, this is nice.
Bob Marley performed the ‘One Love Peace’ concert in Jamaica with the two different warring political sides. There’s always been that in black music and culture in general. It’s no surprise because black music is such a reflection of what’s going on in black life. It’s not unusual for hip-hop.
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.
I’m growing as an individual, but your always growing. All of my albums are snapshots of where I am artistically.
In the early ’90s, when I really started to find my voice, I was reading a lot of books, and I was moved by the writers, like Chinua Achebe, and I wanted to be able to write rhymes that were as potent as what I was reading.
Hip-hop is the last true folk art.
If you’re going to do Chuck Berry, you got to, you know, go all out, and the duck walk is just kind of you know, cursory. That’s like standing.
I’m trying to get low. People’s personalities can get in the way of their own work.
Good art provides people with a vocabulary about things they can’t articulate.
Twitter freaks me out. You have followers? It feels so obsessive and proprietary.
I know what it feels like to have the door slammed firmly in my face, so I’m cool with that.
But even creeps deserve to live someplace halfway decent.
To me, the job of the artist is to provide a useful and intelligent vocabulary for the world to be able to articulate feelings they experience everyday, and otherwise wouldn’t have the means to express in a meaningful and useful way.
It’s possible and available to any artist to be himself or herself on their own terms, to be accepted and embraced by black people. You don’t have to be a thug to get love from black people.
I feel like I was the only person who was capable of making this type of music in this type of way. I don’t rap like nobody, I don’t try to sound like nobody.
There are a lot of people who call themselves teachers or leaders, but they’re really just propagandists.