Mahershala Ali released two rap albums in the mid-2000s under the moniker Prince Ali.
Mahershala Ali's life-changing 2016 included roles in Moonlight, Hidden Figures, and Luke Cage culminated Sunday night when he won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Though he has been acting for 15 years, it wasn't always his lone creative pursuit: once upon a time, he rapped under the moniker Prince Ali.
According to his iTunes bio, Ali launched his rap career after earning a masters degree in acting from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. He released two albums, 2006's Corner Ensemble and 2007's Curb Side Service, under the label run by Oakland underground crew Hieroglyphics.
“Hip hop has definitely had a strong, perhaps the strongest influence on my life,” Ali told XXL last year. “I don’t think I’m at all unique with that. I think there’s so many people of color, and even White kids, that have been tolerating the stresses of their own problems and what not and were able to navigate so many things through the culture of hip-hop and create jobs, have opportunities and been able to express themselves and finding their identity in. I think that’s true with so many people, definitely with me.”
Watch Prince Ali's videos "The Path/Honor Code" and "The Majors" below.