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Bay Area rhymesayer Prince Ali's verbal assault combines a flaunting, B-boy-like swagger with nuances of spirituality, a strong implication of his Souls of Mischief influence. Born in Oakland, CA, but raised a few miles south in Hayward, CA, Ali was inspired to be an MC in the mid-'80s by the king B-boys of hip-hop, Run-D.M.C. After he completed his graduate program at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, he founded Eye5 Recordings in 2006, putting forth a stable of progressive rap artists, including L.A. hip-hop band Destruments and three-man crew Pacific Sonz (of which he is a member). That same year, Ali made noise with his underground mixtape, Corner Ensemble, despite its limited distribution. Oakland hip-hop pioneers Hieroglyphics caught wind of the up-and-coming MC and picked up the mixtape and debut album, Curb Side Service, for proper release via Hiero Imperium/Fontana Distribution the following year. The full-length featured Hiero members Pep Love, Tajai, and Casual as well as guest spots from Planet Asia and Keith Murray. ~ Cyril Cordor