Bet you didn’t know “Moonlight” star Mahershala Ali used to rap, too.
Long before he was snagging the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, Ali was a (pretty great) rapper under the name “Prince Ali.”
Ali dropped two albums before he started his acting career under his Rap alias. He released “Corner Ensemble” in 2006 followed by “Curb Side Service” in 2007.
The Oakland native raps alongside Planet Asia and Keith Murray, two fellow hometown rappers that appear in the video, which came out in 2006. The song, which features the tune of Mobb Deep’s 1995 hit “Halfway Crooks” showcases Ali and crew rapping behind a simple white backdrop.
In an interview with XXL, Ali mentioned his appreciation for hip-hop and the influence it had on him growing up in the Bay Area.
“I definitely used to break dance a bit. Hip-hop has definitely had a strong, perhaps the strongest influence on my life. 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. It’s an appendage. It’s a part of me.”
And the song itself? It’s actually pretty good. Listen for yourself above.