Pras

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Pras
Pras at 2015 MIFF.jpg
Pras - as one of the film's producers - at the Miami Film Festival's presentation of Sweet Micky for President
Background information
Birth namePrakazrel Samuel Michel
Born (1972-10-19) October 19, 1972 (age 46)
Brooklyn, New York, United States
OriginIrvington, New Jersey, United States
GenresHip hop, soul, reggae,
Occupation(s)Rapper, multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, record producer, actor, arranger
InstrumentsVocals, keyboards, sampler
Years active1989–present
LabelsColumbia, Ruffhouse, Guerrilla Entertainment
Associated actsFugees, Refugee Camp All-Stars

Pras Michel (/ˈprɑːz/; born Prakazrel Samuel Michel; October 19, 1972) is a Haitian-American rapper, record producer, songwriter and actor. He is best known as one of the founding members of the influential hip hop group Fugees, which included Wyclef Jean and Lauryn Hill. He is being indicted by the United States Department of Justice, 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 1MDB.[1][2]

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Irvington, New Jersey, Pras cultivated an early interest in music. When he was 15, Pras met Lauryn Hill, while both attended Columbia High School, 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.)

Music career[edit]

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.[3] 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 was received with critical acclaim and 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,[4] 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.[4] Pras also featured on the track "Turn You On" by Swedish artist DeDe[5] 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.

Film career[edit]

After his cameo debut in the 1999 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.[6] Skid Row was released on August 24, 2007 to widespread critical acclaim.[7]

In 2009, Pras travelled to Somalia to film a documentary entitled Paper Dreams to highlight 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.[8]

In 2015, Pras completed a documentary entitled Sweet Micky For President. The documentary chronicled 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.[9]

Political activism[edit]

In 2013, Michel became a "top initial donor"[10] to Organizing for Action, a political advocacy group formed by Obama associates in January 2013.[11][12] In 2019, Michel was indicted with illegally helping to funnel $21 million in foreign campaign contributions into the 2012 U.S. presidential election[13][14][15] to benefit political candidate "A". The Washington Post identified "Candidate A" as B. Obama.[16]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions
US
[17]
US
R&B

[18]
GER
[19]
NOR
[20]
NZ
[21]
SWE
[22]
SWI
[23]
UK
[24]
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.

EPs[edit]

List of extended plays with selected details
Title Details Peak chart positions
US
Wave Culture

Singles[edit]

As lead artist[edit]

Year Title Peak chart positions Album
AUS
[25]
AUT
[26]
BEL
[27]
FIN
[28]
GER
[19]
NOR
[20]
NZ
[21]
SWE
[22]
SWI
[23]
UK
[29]
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 artist[edit]

Year Title Peak chart positions Album
AUS
[25]
AUT
[26]
BEL
[27]
FIN
[28]
GER
[19]
NOR
[20]
NZ
[21]
SWE
[22]
SWI
[23]
UK
[29]
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 career[edit]

  • 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 also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "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. ^ Stack, Liam. Fugees Rapper Pras Michel and Financier Charged in Illegal Scheme to Raise Money for Obama, New York Times, May 10, 2019.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 362. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  5. ^ http://www.dede.se
  6. ^ "IMDB "Skid Row"". IMDB. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
  7. ^ "Skid Row 83% Rotten Tomatoes". Retrieved 2013-06-13.
  8. ^ "TMZ Pras Michel Lawsuit". Retrieved 2013-06-13.
  9. ^ "Documentary: "Sweet Micky for President"". Yahoo News. Retrieved 2016-03-21.
  10. ^ Julie Bykowicz (2013-04-12). "Obama Group Donors Include Hip-Hop Artist 'Pras,' Sinatra". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on 18 May 2019. Retrieved 18 May 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
  11. ^ Bykowicz, Julie. "Obama Group Donors Include Hip-Hop Artist 'Pras,' Sinatra". Bloomberg News. Archived from the original on 26 July 2015. Retrieved 18 May 2019. Prakazrel Michel, better known as “Pras,” a founding member of the hip-hop group Fugees, gave $20,000.
  12. ^ "The Other Fugee Is an OFA Donor". The Washington Free Beacon. 12 April 2013. Retrieved 18 May 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.
  13. ^ Liam Stack (10 May 2019). "Fugees Rapper Pras Michel and Financier Charged in Illegal Scheme to Raise Money for Obama". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 May 2019. transferring more than $21 million from overseas to the rapper Prakazrel Michel, known as Pras, from June 2012 through that November
  14. ^ D.L. Chandler (13 May 2019). "Ex-Fugees Star Pras Michel Caught In The Middle Of $21M Campaign Finance Fraud Case". Hip Hop Wired. Retrieved 18 May 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
  15. ^ CHRISTINA CARREGA (11 May 2019). "Feds accuse Fugees rapper, fugitive businessman of allegedly funneling funds for 2012 presidential campaign". Yahoo News. ABC News. Retrieved 18 May 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
  16. ^ Spencer S. Hsu (16 May 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 18 May 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
  17. ^ "Pras Album & Song Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard.
  18. ^ "Pras Album & Song Chart History: R&B/Hip-Hop Albums". Billboard.
  19. ^ a b c Hung, Steffen. "Discographie Pras Michel". German Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung).
  20. ^ a b c Hung, Steffen. "Discography Pras Michel". Norwegian Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung).
  21. ^ a b c Hung, Steffen. "Discography Pras Michel". New Zealand Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung).
  22. ^ a b c Hung, Steffen. "Discography Pras Michel". Swedish Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung).
  23. ^ a b c Hung, Steffen. "Discographie Pras Michel". Swiss Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung).
  24. ^ "Pras Michel > UK charts". Official Charts Company.
  25. ^ a b Hung, Steffen. "Discography Pras Michel". Australian Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung).
  26. ^ a b Hung, Steffen. "Discographie Pras Michel". Austrian Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung).
  27. ^ a b Hung, Steffen. "Discografie Pras Michel". Belgium (Flanders) Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung).
  28. ^ a b Hung, Steffen. "Discography Pras Michel". Finnish Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung).
  29. ^ a b "Pras Michel > UK Charts". Official Charts Company.
  30. ^ 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 18 March 2019.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)

External links[edit]