Rapper Delight

By EW Staff
June 17, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT
Mos Def Photograph by Mark Zibert

Must List 2005: Mos Def

Age 31

Mustworthiness An immensely affable actor-turned-rapper-turned-actor with maddening range, Def (born Dante Terrell Smith) shone equally bright as an understated heart specialist in HBO’s Something the Lord Made and as a quirky alien exile in the live-action adaptation of Douglas Adams’ sci-fi novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

On ‘Hitchhiker’ Fanaticism ”I think that’s exactly what Doug Adams was trying to avoid. He was posing all these heavy philosophical questions and wrapping them up in silly scenarios to kind of tell people, ‘Don’t take it — or yourself — quite that seriously.”’

Researching Other Black Extraterrestrials ”I’ve never even seen The Brother From Another Planet.”

Next ”I’m just working on trying to get to tomorrow.”

Humble, But C’mon ”New album coming out soon!”

More, Please ”I was in Miami recording and Bruce gave me a call” — that’s Bruce Willis, who’d been wowed by Def’s performance in the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Topdog/Underdog. ”Bruce Willis called me personally, ‘Yo, dude, check this movie out. I’d love you to be a part of it.’ How often does that s— happen?” The two are now shooting 16 Blocks, a real-time action thriller à la 24.