Mahershala Ali is a man of many talents.
But what you probably didn’t know about the Oscar winner is that before he was Remy in “House of Cards” or Cottonmouth in “Luke Cage,” he used to moonlight (get it?) as a rapper. His stage name was Prince Ali.
Ali founded Eye5 Recordings in 2006, after finishing his graduate program at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, according to his iTunes biography. He went on to release an underground mixtape, “Corner Ensemble.” Ali’s flow impressed Oakland hip-hop pioneers Hieroglyphics enough for them to release and distribute his mixtape and album, “Curb Side Service,” through Hiero Imperium/Fontana Distribution in 2007.
The “Moonlight” star, who was also a guard for Saint Mary’s basketball team throughout college, told GQ that he fell in love with hip-hop when he heard Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick’s “The Show” when he was 12. He said that same love has influenced his acting.
“I love hip-hop. It’s such an appendage for me,” he said. “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.”
Listen to the rapper-turned-actor’s singles “The Path/Honor Code” and “The Majors” below.