Prakazrel Samuel Michel (/ˈprɑːz/; born October 19, 1972) is a Haitian-American rapper, producer, songwriter and actor. He is best known as a member of the hip hop group Fugees, alongside Wyclef Jean and Lauryn Hill. After the Fugees, he is known for his Top 40 hit "Ghetto Supastar (That Is What You Are)" from the film Bulworth and "We Trying to Stay Alive" with Jean and John Forté.

Pras
Pras at the 2015 Miami Film Festival
Pras at the 2015 Miami Film Festival
Background information
Birth namePrakazrel Samuel Michel
Born (1972-10-19) October 19, 1972 (age 48)
New York City, U.S.
OriginIrvington, New Jersey, U.S.
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Rapper
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • producer
  • actor
Years active1989–present
Labels
Associated acts

Early lifeEdit

Born in Brooklyn, New York City and raised in Irvington, New Jersey, Pras cultivated an early interest in music. When he was 15, he met Lauryn Hill, while both attended Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey. In 1988, Pras introduced Lauryn to Wyclef Jean. Pras Michel, Wyclef Jean and Lauryn Hill began to rehearse under the guidance of Kool and the Gang's producer, Ronald Khalis Bell, and subsequently they formed a musical group called The Rap Translators in 1989 (also known as Tranzlator Crew.)

CareerEdit

MusicEdit

In 1994, before and during the time that The Fugees were recording their first album Blunted on Reality, under the supervision of Ronald Khalis Bell, Pras attended Rutgers University and Yale University, pursuing a double major in Philosophy and Psychology.[1] In 1996, The Fugees achieved historic crossover success with The Score, which went multi-platinum. Pras has also forged a successful solo career, beginning with an international hit single from his first full-length solo LP, "Ghetto Supastar (That Is What You Are)", featuring Mýa and Ol' Dirty Bastard. "Ghetto Superstar" became a top ten single in 1999, and the eighth most played single; it earned Pras a performance at the World Music Awards. The hit single was included in the soundtrack for the film Bulworth. "Ghetto Supastar" spent eight weeks in the UK Top 5, peaking at No. 2 in July 1998,[2] and reached US No. 15 a month later. "Blue Angels", from the same album, was a UK Top 10 hit, reaching No. 6 in November.[2] Pras also featured on the track "Turn You On" by Swedish artist DeDe[3] which was released in 2007. "Turn You On" was also written and produced by Pras Michél. After nine weeks on Sweden's single chart, it peaked at No. 2. He also featured "Pushin'" from the album Equalize by Swami, which was released in 2007.

FilmEdit

After his cameo debut in the 1999 feature film Mystery Men, Pras gained an interest in Hollywood. In 2000, Pras starred in the New Line film, Turn It Up. In early 2002, he appeared in the Sony and Urban World release Higher Ed, and Go for Broke in which he starred and produced. He also co-starred in three 20th Century Fox films in 2007. These included The Mutant Chronicles.

In 2006, Pras created Skid Row, Los Angeles, a documentary account of his nine-day experience posing as a homeless person living in downtown Los Angeles. Using a hidden camera, Pras captured the reality of homelessness. The film was produced by Teryn Fogel.[4] Skid Row was released on August 24, 2007.[5]

In 2009, Pras travelled to Somalia to film the documentary Paper Dreams which examines piracy off the African coast. During filming, pirates invaded the ship he was on, the MV Maersk Alabama, and took the captain of the ship hostage. Due to be released in 2014, the documentary remains unfinished due to a legal dispute.[6]

In 2015, Pras completed a documentary, Sweet Micky For President, which chronicles the rise of Haitian musician Michel Martelly, through his election to fight corruption as President of Haiti, an election campaign that was strongly endorsed by Pras. The film had its World premiere at the 2015 Slamdance Film Festival.[7]

Political activismEdit

In 2013, Michel became a "top initial donor"[8] to Organizing for Action, a political advocacy group formed by Obama associates in January 2013.[9][10]

Legal problemsEdit

The United States Department of Justice indicted Michel on May 10, 2019, for his part in a criminal conspiracy that alleges, between June 2012 and November 2012, he aided in the illegal transfer of approximately $865,000 from foreign entities into the Barack Obama 2012 presidential campaign as purportedly legitimate contributions, stolen from the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).[11][12] Ultimately it was alleged that $21 million in foreign campaign contributions was funneled into the 2012 US presidential election.[12][13][14] to benefit political candidate "A". The Washington Post identified "Candidate A" as B. Obama.[15]

In June 2021, Michel was charged by a federal grand jury for running a back-channel campaign to get the Trump administration to drop an investigation of Jho Low and the 1MDB investment company.[16][17]

DiscographyEdit

AlbumsEdit

Title Album details Peak chart positions
US
[18]
US
R&B

[19]
GER
[20]
NOR
[21]
NZ
[22]
SWE
[23]
SWI
[24]
UK
[25]
Ghetto Supastar 55 35 68 9 34 19 47 44
Win Lose or Draw
  • Released: August 16, 2005
  • Label: Universal
  • Format: CD, digital download
"—" denotes album that did not chart or was not released.

EPsEdit

List of extended plays with selected details
Title Details Peak chart positions
US
Wave Culture
  • Released: May 22, 2018
  • Label: New Vision Management
  • Formats: Digital download

SinglesEdit

As lead artistEdit

Year Title Peak chart positions Album
AUS
[27]
AUT
[28]
BEL
[29]
FIN
[30]
GER
[20]
NOR
[21]
NZ
[22]
SWE
[23]
SWI
[24]
UK
[31]
US
1997 "Avenues"
(featuring the Refugee Camp All-Stars)
32 12 51 2 4 7 35 Ghetto Supastar
1998 "Ghetto Supastar (That Is What You Are)"
(featuring ODB and Mýa)
2 1 1 4 1 1 1 2 1 2 15
"Blue Angels"
(featuring The Product G&B)
59 75 10 10 50 6
"What'cha Wanna Do"
(featuring The Product G&B and Free)
72
"Another One Bites the Dust"
(Wyclef Jean and Queen featuring Pras and Free)
23 13 7 46 20 9 50 35 5
2005 "Haven't Found"
(featuring Sharli McQueen)
67 17 Win Lose or Draw
2017 "Pump Fakin"
(featuring Young M.A)
TBA
"—" denotes single that did not chart or was not released.

As featured artistEdit

Year Title Peak chart positions Album
AUS
[27]
AUT
[28]
BEL
[29]
FIN
[30]
GER
[20]
NOR
[21]
NZ
[22]
SWE
[23]
SWI
[24]
UK
[31]
2000 "Never Turn Back"
(Toshinobu Kubota featuring Pras)
Nothing But Your Love
2001 "Miss California"
(Dante Thomas featuring Pras)
5 4 2 1 13 5 6 2 25 Fly
2007 "Turn You On"
(Dede featuring Pras)
11 2 N/A
"Pushin'"
(Swami featuring Pras and Ishmael)
Equalize
2008 "Le Blues"
(Melissa M featuring Pras)
N/A
"My Man"
(Anggun featuring Pras)
Elevation
2010 "Watch Out"
(Jennifer Milan featuring Pras)
22
2012 "Untried"
(Linda Kiraly featuring Pras and Rh3)
N/A
"—" denotes single that did not chart or was not released.

Acting and producing careerEdit

  • Mystery Men (1999) – Tony C (credited as Prakazrel Michel)
  • Turn It Up (2000) – Denzel/Diamond (credited as Pras Michel) (co-producer)
  • Higher Ed (2001) – Ed Green (credited as Pras Michel) (executive producer)
  • Go for Broke (2002) – Jackson/Jackie (credited as Pras Michel) (producer)
  • Nora's Hair Salon (2004)
  • Careful What You Wish For (2004) – Zen Salesman (credited as Pras Michel)
  • Feel the Noise (2007) – Electric
  • First Night (2007) – himself (producer)
  • Skid Row (2007) – himself (producer)
  • The Mutant Chronicles (2007) – Captain Michaels (producer)
  • Paper Dreams (2010) – himself (producer)
  • Sweet Mickey for President (2015) – himself (producer)

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Rahul (May 17, 2012). "Pras Talks 2Pac, Suge Knight, Wyclef, Lauryn Hill & Beef on the Champs Podcast". Dajaz1.com. Archived from the original on January 20, 2013. Retrieved May 19, 2012.
  2. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 362. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  3. ^ "Denise Lopez". Dede.se.
  4. ^ "Skid Row". IMDb.com. Internet Movie Database. August 24, 2007. Retrieved December 4, 2010.
  5. ^ "Skid Row". RottenTomatoes.com. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
  6. ^ "TMZ Pras Michel Lawsuit". Retrieved June 13, 2013.
  7. ^ "Documentary: 'Sweet Micky for President'". Yahoo News. Retrieved March 21, 2016.
  8. ^ Julie Bykowicz (April 12, 2013). "Obama Group Donors Include Hip-Hop Artist 'Pras,' Sinatra". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on May 18, 2019. Retrieved May 18, 2019. a Beverly Hills hip-hop artist and hedge fund manager Orin Kramer are among the top initial donors to a nonprofit issue-advocacy group founded by President Barack Obama's former campaign aides
  9. ^ Bykowicz, Julie. "Obama Group Donors Include Hip-Hop Artist 'Pras,' Sinatra". Bloomberg News. Archived from the original on July 26, 2015. Retrieved May 18, 2019. Prakazrel Michel, better known as "Pras," a founding member of the hip-hop group Fugees, gave $20,000.
  10. ^ "The Other Fugee Is an OFA Donor". The Washington Free Beacon. April 12, 2013. Retrieved May 18, 2019. Rapper Prakazrel Michel, better known as Pras, became a founding member of Organizing for Action after donating $20,000 to President Barack Obama's dark money group.
  11. ^ "Entertainer/Businessman and Malaysian Financier Indicted for Conspiring to Make and Conceal Foreign and Conduit Contributions During 2012 U.S. Presidential Election". United States Department of Justice. May 10, 2019. Retrieved May 11, 2019.
  12. ^ a b Stack, Liam (May 10, 2019). "Fugees Rapper Pras Michel and Financier Charged in Illegal Scheme to Raise Money for Obama". The New York Times.
  13. ^ Chandler, D. L. (May 13, 2019). "Ex-Fugees Star Pras Michel Caught in the Middle Of $21M Campaign Finance Fraud Case". Hip Hop Wired. Retrieved May 18, 2019. Former Fugees rapper Prakazrel 'Pras' Michel finds himself in the middle of a $21 million campaign finance fraud case with international implications. According to the DOJ, Michel conspired with a Malaysian businessman regarding campaign contributions to former U.S. President Barack Obama
  14. ^ Carrega, Christina (May 11, 2019). "Feds accuse Fugees rapper, fugitive businessman of allegedly funneling funds for 2012 presidential campaign". Yahoo News. ABC News. Retrieved May 18, 2019. According to the new indictment, the men moved $21.6 million from foreign accounts into U.S. companies to help them disguise the source of political contributions, which cannot legally come from foreign donors. Michel is alleged to have recruited 20 straw donors
  15. ^ Spencer S. Hsu (May 16, 2019). "Ex-Fugees member Pras Michel rules out plea deal in U.S. probe of foreign campaign funds in 2012 election". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 18, 2019. In Michel's indictment unsealed last week, the presidential fundraising committees that allegedly received funds were identified as "Political Committee A" and "Political Committee B," and the candidate they were meant to benefit is listed as "Candidate A." But the indictment suggests "Candidate A" was then-President Barack Obama
  16. ^ Mangan, Dan (June 11, 2021). "Fugees rapper Pras, Jho Low charged in scheme to get Trump administration to drop 1MDB probe". CNBC. Retrieved June 11, 2021.
  17. ^ Yaffe-Bellany, David (June 11, 2021). "Jho Low Mounted Secret Lobbying Campaign Over 1MDB Probe, U.S. Says". Bloomberg News. Retrieved June 11, 2021.
  18. ^ "Pras Album & Song Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard.
  19. ^ "Pras Album & Song Chart History: R&B/Hip-Hop Albums". Billboard.
  20. ^ a b c Hung, Steffen. "Discographie Pras Michel". German Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung).
  21. ^ a b c Hung, Steffen. "Discography Pras Michel". Norwegian Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung).
  22. ^ a b c Hung, Steffen. "Discography Pras Michel". New Zealand Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung).
  23. ^ a b c Hung, Steffen. "Discography Pras Michel". Swedish Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung).
  24. ^ a b c Hung, Steffen. "Discographie Pras Michel". Swiss Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung).
  25. ^ "Pras Michel > UK charts". Official Charts Company.
  26. ^ "Pras Goes Beyond Flash and Cash for "Ghetto Supastar"".
  27. ^ a b Hung, Steffen. "Discography Pras Michel". Australian Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung).
  28. ^ a b Hung, Steffen. "Discographie Pras Michel". Austrian Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung).
  29. ^ a b Hung, Steffen. "Discografie Pras Michel". Belgium (Flanders) Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung).
  30. ^ a b Hung, Steffen. "Discography Pras Michel". Finnish Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung).
  31. ^ a b "Pras Michel > UK Charts". Official Charts Company.
  32. ^ a b Robert Faturechi and Justin Elliot (March 18, 2019). "Federal Authorities Raided Trump Fundraiser's Office in Money Laundering Probe; A sealed search warrant obtained by ProPublica shows federal agents scoured Elliott Broidy's office for documents related to China, Saudi Arabia and a Miami Beach club promoter". ProPublica.org. Retrieved March 18, 2019.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)

External linksEdit