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Pras at the 2015 Miami International Film Festival
Background information
Birth namePrakazrel Samuel Michel
Born (1972-10-19) October 19, 1972 (age 51)
Brooklyn, New York City, U.S.
OriginIrvington, New Jersey, U.S.
  • Rapper
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
Years active1989–present
Member ofFugees

Prakazrel Samuel Michel (born October 19, 1972), known professionally as Pras (/ˈprɑːz/), is an American rapper, singer and record producer. He is best known as a member of the hip hop group Fugees, which he formed with fellow New Jerseyans Wyclef Jean and Lauryn Hill in 1990.

As a solo act, he signed with Columbia Records in 1996 and earned two top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 with his 1997 single "Avenues" (with Refugee Camp All-Stars featuring Ky-Mani Marley) and his Grammy Award-nominated 1998 single, "Ghetto Supastar (That Is What You Are)" (featuring Ol' Dirty Bastard and Mýa). The latter was released for the Warren Beatty film Bulworth (1998), while both preceded the release of his debut studio album, Ghetto Supastar (1998).

He also collaborated with Jean and rock band Queen on the 1998 remix of "Another One Bites the Dust", which reached the top five on the UK Singles Chart. In 2017, he won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Digital Daytime Drama Series for his work as a producer on the web series The Bay.

In 2019, he began to face legal issues when he was charged with criminal conspiracy for alleged illegal donations to President Barack Obama's 2012 presidential re-election campaign[1][2] and lobbying the Trump administration to deter investigations into the 1MDB scandal involving fugitive Malaysian businessman Jho Low.[3] On April 26, 2023, Pras was found guilty of 10 criminal counts in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.[4][5][6][7]

Early life[edit]

Michel was born in Brooklyn, New York City, and raised in Irvington, New Jersey. He is Haitian-American.[8] 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 Hill to Wyclef Jean. Pras, Jean, and 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).



In 1994, The Fugees recorded their first album Blunted on Reality, under the supervision of Ronald Khalis Bell. Before and during this, Pras attended Rutgers University and Yale University, pursuing a double major in Philosophy and Psychology.[9] 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. The song 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,[10] 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.[10]

Pras also featured on the track "Turn You On" by Swedish artist DeDe[11] which was released in 2007. "Turn You On" was also written and produced by Pras. 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.


After making a cameo in the 1999 feature film Mystery Men, Pras became interested 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.[12] Skid Row was released on August 24, 2007.[13]

In 2009, Pras traveled 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. Originally due to be released in 2014, the documentary remains unfinished due to a legal dispute.[14]

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.[15]

In 2017, he won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Digital Daytime Drama Series as a producer on the web series The Bay.[16][17]

Political activism[edit]

In 2013, Michel became a "top initial donor"[18] to Organizing for Action, a political advocacy group formed by Obama associates in January 2013.[19]

Legal issues[edit]

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted Pras on May 10, 2019, for his part in an alleged criminal conspiracy with Malaysian financier Jho Low. The DOJ alleged that between June 2012 and November 2012, Michel aided in the illegal transfer of approximately $865,000 from foreign entities into the Barack Obama 2012 presidential campaign. The DOJ alleged that these funds were disguised as purportedly legitimate contributions, but were stolen from the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).[1][2][20] Ultimately, the DOJ alleged that $21 million in foreign campaign contributions were funneled into the 2012 US presidential election to benefit "Candidate A".[2][21][22] The Washington Post and The New York Times identified "Candidate A" as Barack Obama.[2][23]

In June 2021, Pras 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.[20][24][25]

He was also accused of advocating for the extradition of a Chinese dissident, Guo Wengui, from the United States.[26][27][20] In the plea documents of former DOJ employee George Higginbotham, Pras was accused of paying Republican fundraiser Elliott Broidy and others to have Guo extradited to China. Though unnamed in the filings, Pras is "easily identified" due to linked cases and confirmation from sources close to the case.[27] Pras "vehemently and unequivocally" denied accusations related to Higginbotham's case.[27]

As of 2021, due to the charges against him, Pras cannot travel internationally.[28] In January 2022, Fugees cancelled their planned international reunion tour, citing the COVID-19 pandemic.[29][30]

On April 26, 2023, Pras was found guilty of 10 criminal counts in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.[4][5][6][7]



Title Album details Peak chart positions

Ghetto Supastar 55 35 54 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.


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


As lead artist[edit]

Year Title Peak chart positions Album
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)
55 59 75 10 10 50 6
"What'cha Wanna Do"
(featuring The Product G&B and Free)
"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)
76 67 17 Win Lose or Draw
2017 "Pump Fakin"
(featuring Young M.A)
"—" denotes single that did not chart or was not released.

As featured artist[edit]

Year Title Peak chart positions Album
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
(Swami featuring Pras and Ishmael)
2008 "Le Blues"
(Melissa M featuring Pras)
"My Man"
(Anggun featuring Pras)
2010 "Watch Out"
(Jennifer Milan featuring Pras)
2012 "Untried"
(Linda Kiraly featuring Pras and Rh3)
"—" denotes single that did not chart or was not released.

Acting and producing career[edit]

  • Mystery Men (1999) – Tony C (credited as Prakazrel Michel)
  • Turn It Up (2000) – Denzel/Diamond (credited as Pras Michel) (co-producer)
  • Da Hip Hop Witch (2000) - Himself
  • 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)
  • Mutant Chronicles (2007) – Captain Michaels (producer)
  • Paper Dreams (2010) – himself (producer)
  • Sweet Mickey for President (2015) – himself (producer)


  1. ^ a b "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.
  2. ^ a b c d Stack, Liam (May 10, 2019). "Fugees Rapper Pras Michel and Financier Charged in Illegal Scheme to Raise Money for Obama". The New York Times.
  3. ^ "'Pras' Michel trial sees former rapper in court for vast 'influence scheme'". BBC. Retrieved March 31, 2023.
  4. ^ a b Ruiz, Matthew Ismael (October 12, 2022). "Fugees' Pras Gets New Trial Date in Criminal Conspiracy Case". Pitchfork. Retrieved February 22, 2023.
  5. ^ a b "Businesswoman Sentenced for Facilitating Unregistered Lobbying Campaign in Exchange for Approximately $3 Million". www.justice.gov. January 19, 2023. Retrieved February 22, 2023.
  6. ^ a b Lybrand, Holmes (April 26, 2023). "Ex-Fugees rapper Pras Michel found guilty in scheme to help China influence US government". CNN.
  7. ^ a b Whitehurst, Lindsay (April 26, 2023). "Fugees rapper Pras found guilty of political conspiracy". Associated Press. Retrieved April 28, 2023.
  8. ^ "Report: Fugees member Pras' criminal conspiracy trial date moved". The Fader. Retrieved February 22, 2023.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 362. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  11. ^ "Denise Lopez". Dede.se.
  12. ^ "Skid Row". IMDb.com. Internet Movie Database. August 24, 2007. Retrieved December 4, 2010.
  13. ^ "Skid Row". Rotten Tomatoes. March 25, 2008. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
  14. ^ "TMZ Pras Michel Lawsuit". TMZ. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
  15. ^ "Documentary: 'Sweet Micky for President'". Yahoo! News. Retrieved March 21, 2016.
  16. ^ "The Bay The Series - CONGRATULATIONS TO THE BAY! The Bay The Series Daytime Emmy Award Winner "Outstanding Digital Daytime Drama Series" #DaytimeEmmys #bingethebay Gregori J. Martin Kristos Andrews Wendy Riche Anthony Aquilino #MichaelWFerroJr Carol Hedgepeth Nadine Aronson Jared Safier Matthew Ashford Devin Devasquez #MaryBethEvans Celeste Fianna Nanxi Liu Kira Reed Lorsch Pras Michel Ronn Moss Eric Nelsen Sainty Nelsen Karrueche Tran Meadow Williams Chrystal Ayers | Facebook". Facebook. March 12, 2023. Archived from the original on March 12, 2023. Retrieved March 12, 2023.
  17. ^ Ames, Michael (March 12, 2023). "The Feds Say Pras Is a Foreign Agent. Now the Fugee Tells His Side". Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 12, 2023.
  18. ^ Bykowicz, Julie (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
  19. ^ 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.
  20. ^ a b c Leopold, Jason; Campbell, Matthew; Cormier, Anthony (March 2, 2023). "The Fugee, the Fugitive and the FBI". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved March 2, 2023.
  21. ^ 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
  22. ^ Carrega, Christina (May 11, 2019). "Feds accuse Fugees rapper, fugitive businessman of allegedly funneling funds for 2012 presidential campaign". ABC News. Retrieved May 18, 2019 – via Yahoo! News. 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
  23. ^ 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
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ Yaffe-Bellany, David (June 11, 2021). "Jho Low Mounted Secret Lobbying Campaign Over 1MDB Probe, U.S. Says". Bloomberg News. Retrieved June 11, 2021.
  26. ^ "U.S. Entertainer/Businessman and Malaysian National Charged with Back-Channel Lobbying Campaign to Drop 1MDB Investigation and Remove Chinese Dissident from U.S." www.justice.gov. June 10, 2021. Retrieved February 22, 2023.
  27. ^ a b c Friedman, Dan. "How a member of the Fugees got caught up in pro-China lobbying". Mother Jones. Retrieved February 22, 2023.
  28. ^ Kaufman, Gil (October 8, 2021). "Could Criminal Charges Against Pras Impact Fugees' Overseas Reunion Dates?". Billboard. Retrieved February 22, 2023.
  29. ^ Curto, Justin (January 21, 2022). "The Fugees Reunion Tour Was Too Good to Be True". Vulture. Retrieved February 22, 2023.
  30. ^ White, Abbey (January 21, 2022). "The Fugees Cancel Reunion Tour Citing Pandemic Conditions". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 22, 2023.
  31. ^ "Pras Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard.
  32. ^ "Pras Chart History: R&B/Hip-Hop Albums". Billboard.
  33. ^ a b c Peaks in Australia:
    • "Ghetto Supastar (That Is What You Are)" and "Miss California": "Discography Pras Michel". Australian Charts Portal. Hung Medien.
    • Ghetto Supastar, "Blue Angels" and "Haven't Found": Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010 (PDF ed.). Mt Martha, Victoria, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. p. 187.
  34. ^ a b c "Discographie Pras Michel". German Charts Portal. Hung Medien.[dead link]
  35. ^ a b c "Discography Pras Michel". Norwegian Charts Portal. Hung Medien.
  36. ^ a b c "Discography Pras Michel". New Zealand Charts Portal. Hung Medien.
  37. ^ a b c "Discography Pras Michel". Swedish Charts Portal. Hung Medien.
  38. ^ a b c "Discographie Pras Michel". Swiss Charts Portal. Hung Medien.
  39. ^ "Pras Michel > UK charts". Official Charts Company.
  40. ^ "Pras Goes Beyond Flash and Cash for "Ghetto Supastar"". MTV. October 28, 1998. Archived from the original on April 3, 2023.
  41. ^ a b "Discographie Pras Michel". Austrian Charts Portal. Hung Medien.
  42. ^ a b "Discografie Pras Michel". Belgium (Flanders) Charts Portal. Hung Medien.
  43. ^ a b "Discography Pras Michel". Finnish Charts Portal. Hung Medien.
  44. ^ a b "Pras Michel > UK Charts". Official Charts Company.

External links[edit]