'Moonlight' Oscar-Winner Mahershala Ali Used to Be a Rapper
Mahershala Ali's skills span beyond acting. Apparently, the Oscar Award-winning thespian and Moonlight star is a pretty talented emcee.
A decade before his winning for supporting actor Sunday night, Ali was the Bay Area rapper Prince Ali and released two albums with the Hieroglyphics crew's record label Hieroglyphics Imperium.
Speaking with GQ last year, the actor discussed his first memory of hip-hop and how it's affected his acting: "My first moment where I felt like I couldn't live without this music [laughs] was when I heard Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick's 'The Show' on the radio station in the Bay Area and I'm twelve years old," he said. "I sat by the radio station the whole weekend changing the dial from different radio stations to see if they would play 'The Show.' I felt like my head was going to explode. I love hip hop. It's such an appendage for me. It's something that's always shaped my experience out in the world. I always make mixtapes for every character that I'm playing. Sonically, that character has a soundtrack."
Despite rapping the Bay, Prince Ali's rap style feels very East Coast -- just like his cat, Nas.
Watch Prince Ali's music videos for "The Path" and "The Majors" here: