Earlier this week, HBO debuted the first episode of their extremely well-reviewed series The Night Of. The buzz has already started about show lead Riz Ahmed - who, as it turns out, has a burgeoning hip-hop career in the UK.
Ahmed has previously shown dramatic flair in films like Nightcrawler and The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and it doesn’t stop there for the 33-year-old, British-born thespian: turns out, he’s a (pretty legit) rap artist! Under the musical moniker Riz MC, Ahmed’s released several singles and put out a full-length album, MICroscope, in 2011.
While some of his songs are simply light-hearted, electronica-fused tunes, others have delved into deeper themes and addressed race, politics, identity and social issues.
Ahmed – who grew up in London and is of Pakistani descent – dropped a song and video in 2006 called “Post 9/11 Blues.” The track was initially banned from the airwaves for its politically sensitive lyrics.
Despite (or because of) the controversy, “Post 9/11 Blues” drew widespread Internet attention and was eventually put back into rotation on TV and radio. The following year, Ahmed was featured as an emerging artist on the BBC Introducing program. With the support of that, he nabbed a spot on the bill of the prestigious Glastonbury festival and opened for Massive Attack at another concert.
In the meantime, Ahmed has been keeping busy with that acting day job. In addition to The Night Of. he’s in the latest Jason Bourne film and has a role in the highly anticipated new Star Wars movie, Rogue One.