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Renowned hip-hop artist and actor Mos Def, more recently known as Yasiin Bey recently sat down with men’s magazine GQ to talk style — with respect to both music and fashion. Of course a proper GQ interview wouldn’t be complete without getting Bey’s take on power suits, mixing and matching, and how to stay ‘fresh and clean,’ but we’re also given insight into his very own style inspirations. Much of what Bey wears these days can be found at Ale et Ange — a New York boutique for which Bey serves as a fashion collaborator. He attributes the relationship to the store’s “elegant, skillful and raw” presentation of style, a manner not unlike hip hop itself. You can check out the video interview in its entirety here.

A Mos by Any Other Name…
“I began to fear that Mos Def was being treated as a product, not a person, so I’ve been going by Yasiin since ’99. At first it was just for friends and family, but now I’m declaring it openly.”

Paying Homage
“When my paternal grandfather passed a few years back, I started to wear a shirt and tie every day, like he did. Michael Jackson’s death had a big impact on me, too. Right before the Ecstatic tour in 2009, I began wearing loafers and high-waisted pants. And that’s where my look started.”

Honest Goods
“Hip-hop is the last true folk art. I got involved with Ale et Ange because it represents hip-hop in a way that isn’t pandering. It’s nice to see something that’s elegant, skillful, and raw.”

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