Method Man

Clifford Smith - a.k.a. Method Man - attained lasting fame as a founding member of one of hip-hop's most celebrated acts and as a solo artist, prior to entering a prolific second career as a film and television actor. Exploding onto the N.Y. hip-hop scene in the early 1990s as part of the seminal rap group the Wu-Tang Clan, Smith went on to release both solo efforts and collaborate with other well-known artists, such as Mary J. Blige. As more music industry triumphs followed, the rapper also made early forays into the world of acting, appearing in projects like the Wayans Brothers' comedy "Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood" (1996) and the hip-hop/crime thriller "Belly" (1998). The neophyte actor also earned high marks for his recurring roles on acclaimed TV dramas like "Oz" (HBO, 1997-2003) and "The Wire" (HBO, 2002-08), in addition to partnering up with fellow rapper Redman for such comedic offerings as "How High" (2001) and the short-lived sitcom "Method and Red" (Fox, 2004). As he moved into the next decade, Smith recorded with members of his old Wu-Tang crew on 2010's Wu-Massacre and appeared in the George Lucas-produced World War II adventure "Red Tails" (2012). While never forgetting his urban hip-hop roots as an artist, Smith increasingly courted mainstream respectability in the studios of Hollywood.