Mos Def

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    • Mos def: Our priorities is gettin' ****ed. Lil Jon-I love his music. But why are the East Side Boyz names Big Sam and Lil Bo? What the ****? What's next, Kunta and Kinte?

    • Mos Def: (on how America treats black people) This is the same country that ran up in Fred Hampton's crib and shot him in bed with his pregnant wife. You think the rules changed cause *****s got No. 1 records? What are we supposed to tell our kids? After Malcolm, Martin and Dubois we got Sam-Bo?

    • Mos: And I'm not really playing by anybody else's rules or trying to live up to anyone's expectations but mine. I'm not even competing with anyone else, in terms of, like, this artist or that camp, I'm trying to be better than my last song -- not even my last album -- I'm trying to be better everyday at what it is that I'm doing. I'm not gonna twist my back into pretzels and question marks to get accolades from the buying public.

    • Mos Def: You want to know how to rhyme, then learn how to add. It's mathematics.

    • Mos: 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.

    • Mos Def: (on how new rap feels to him) I'm supposed to be down with that 'cause it makes me dance?

    • Mos Def: (on how Paris Hilton just cares about herself) Paris Hilton don't really care about ya'll ******, man. She can't even hear ya'll ******. I'm just keeping it real.

    • Mos def: Dudes is no more than 20 years removed from real poverty. For dudes to have this much access to money and it's not translating to people power, its inexcusable...

    • Mos Def: This **** is entertainment to them. We're adopting their morals like we them and we never been them. We don't have the same struggle.

    • Mos Def: (on the record Black Star) This record is a very clear and fair representation of who I am and what I'm about, artistically and personally. What I wanted to do is exhibit that there exists a dimension in the realm of black thought and expression that the common idea today -- that the only things important to young black people today are sex, money and violence - is just not true

    • Mos: 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.

    • Mos: I'm a man. I'm not a trained seal.

    • Mos: 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.

    • Mos Def: (on guest appearances on peoples albums) 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. It took me a longer time, more attention to detail.

    • Mos: All the things that are worth doing, take time.

    • Mos: I love rhymin' but I wanna do some other ----, for hip-hop music. The way to stay creative or fresh is just to do what you want to do and constantly keep yourself defined by yourself, as opposed to what an audience or the media expects of you. To always have a standard of what you expect from you, and that'll just keep you going.

    • Mos: I was taught when there's somethin' you can change around keep quiet, you got nothin' to complain about.

    • Mos: There was a time when hip-hop was its own musical principle, aside from sampling. Like the entire Wild Style break is instrumental. Kurtis Blow's earliest stuff was studio musicians playing. Whodini had a real clear sound, things like "Five Minutes of Funk," stuff that you could write really beautiful, lush string and horn arrangements around, stuff that was just music.

    • Mos Def: Jay-Z and Roc-A-Fella would never allow me to release songs I plan on putting out there. I ain't down with that commercial nonsense. I'm about to deal with the fake with my next album, from George Bush to 50 Cent.

    • Mos Def: There are a lot of people who call themselves teachers or leaders, but they're really just propagandists.

    • Mos Def: 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.

    • Mos Def: And remember don't high post when you're far from home, and high posting when you're all alone.

    • Mos Def: 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. That's what I've been trying to strive for -- to draw a clear picture, to open up a new dimension.

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