37 of the Greatest Mos Def Quotes of All Time

Mos Def is an American hip hop artist, actor and activist from Brooklyn, New York City, New York. About.com listed him as the 14th greatest ‘MC’ of all time on their “50 greatest MC’s of our time” list.

We’ve put together this collection of the best Mos Def quotes:


37 Greatest Mos Def Quotes

1. “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.” – Mos Def

2. “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

3. “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.” Mos Def

4. “I don’t hate nobody. I hate certain conditions that are inflicted upon the people – and they’re helpless with it.” – Mos Def

5. “I don’t want to waste anyone’s time or money. I want to give people some truth and positive heart lift.” – Mos Def

6. “I get reminded a lot of the time that my life is a little bit different, but I’m just trying to keep it as regular as possible because I like it that way.” – Mos Def

7. “I just don’t think it’s very dignified to ask people to like you. You can just wind up being somebody’s ottoman.” – Mos Def

8. “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.” – Mos Def

9. “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.” – Mos Def


10th of 37 Mos Def Quotes

10. “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 Def


11. “That idea of peace and love toward humanity shouldn’t be nationalistic or denominational. It should be a chief concern for all mankind.” – Mos Def

12. “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.” – Mos Def

13. “You want to know how to rhyme, then learn how to add. It’s mathematics.” – Mos Def

14. “All the things that are worth doing, take time.” – Mos Def

15. “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

16. “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.” – Mos Def

17. “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.” – Mos Def

18. “I feel like being into the beat of your own drum has become too prominent in the culture.” – Mos Def

19. “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


20th of 37 Mos Def Quotes

20. “I never had any ambitions of being a movie star or anything like that, but you know, this is nice.” – Mos Def


21. “I’m growing as an individual, but your always growing. All of my albums are snapshots of where I am artistically.” – Mos Def

22. “I’m trying to get low. People’s personalities can get in the way of their own work.” – Mos Def

23. “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 and it’s time to expand and move on.” – Mos Def

24. “That’s what I’ve been trying to strive for – to draw a clear picture, to open up a new dimension.” – Mos Def

25. “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.” – Mos Def

26. “And remember don’t high post when you’re far from home, and high posting when you’re all alone.” – Mos Def

27. “Good art provides people with a vocabulary about things they can’tmarticulate.” – Mos Def

28. “I didn’t want to have to deal with having any moniker or separation between the self that I see and know myself as.” – Mos Def

29. “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.” – Mos Def


30th of 37 Mos Def Quotes

30. “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.” – Mos Def


31. “I have no confidence issues with the impact or the quality of the music. No one in hip-hop, before this point and to this point, with all due respect, has done this.” – Mos Def

32. “I was taught when there’s somethin’ you can change around keep quiet, you got nothin’ to complain about.” – Mos Def

33. “I’m just an artist and I’m doin’ what I like to do.” – Mos Def

34. “It wouldn’t be fair to cast aspersions on an entire cultural movement based on the actions of a few. To quote my grandfather, ‘One bad apple don’t spoil the whole bunch.’” – Mos Def

35. “My presence speaks volumes before I say a word.” – Mos Def

36. “There are a lot of people who call themselves teachers or leaders, but they’re really just propagandists.” – Mos Def

37. “You have to experience life, make observations, and ask questions.” – Mos Def



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