Praskazrel Samuel Michel, known as Pras, (/ born October 19, 1972) is a two-time Grammy-winning American rapper, best known as one of the founding members of the critically acclaimed hip hop group, the Fugees, which included his cousin Wyclef Jeanand recording artist Lauryn Hill.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Pras cultivated an early interest in music. When he was 15, Pras met Lauryn Hill. 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.)
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 College and Yale University, pursuing a double major in Philosophy and Psychology. 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, 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. Pras also featured on the track "Turn You On" by Swedish artist DeDe which was released in 2007. "Turn You On" was also written and produced by Pras Michel. 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 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 includedThe 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. Skid Row was released on August 24, 2007 to widespread critical acclaim.
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.
In 2010, Pras created a documentary entitled Sweet Mickey For Prezidan. 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.