Tracee Ellis Ross might be the daughter of one of the original queens of R&B, Diana Ross, but she is hip-hop to the core. The award-winning actress has made her claim to fame by starring in hit shows like the 2000s sitcom Girlfriends, and more recently, Black-ish. Along the way, her affinity for the culture has been on full display.

One of Ross’ earliest television roles was on the MTV sketch comedy program The Lyricist Lounge Show, which converged comedy skits with hip-hop themes and rap music. A nearly decade-long stint on the popular UPN show Girlfriends came next, during which time she made a cameo in Kanye West's video for "Touch the Sky" and was later named-dropped by the rapper on the Graduation track “The Glory,” where ‘Ye spits, “House on the hill/Two doors from Tracee Ross/And I'm asking about her girlfriends/Yeah, the dark skin'ed ones/She asking about the speed boats, yeah, I admit, we rented 'em.”

Since the Black-ish run started in 2014, Ross has really come out of her shell, as she’s introduced her rap alter-ego T-Murda to the world and provided laughs with some bars and hilarious covers.

“We’ve discovered Tracee has an inner talent that we didn’t know she had,” Ross told Sway Calloway during an interview on his show in 2014, speaking in third person. “Clearly, I’ve been rhyming other people’s rhymes and they been coming out nice and tight.”

With the television star recently adding to her rap resume with an appearance in Tyler, The Creator’s “Earfquake” video, XXL compiles a timeline of Miss Ross’ ties to hip-hop.

  • Stars on The Lyricist Lounge Show

    February 2000

    Tracee cuts her teeth in the acting industry on the short-lived MTV series The Lyricist Lounge Show. The program features sketch comedy with a hip-hop twist.

  • Makes Cameo in Kanye West’s "Touch the Sky” Video

    February 2006

    Kanye West releases the video for his Late Registration single “Touch the Sky” with Lupe Fiasco. The visual features cameos from Tracee Ellis Ross and Nia Long, who both hilariously badger the rap star.

  • Introduces Rap Alter-Ego T-Murda

    August 2014

    Ross unleashes her rap alter-ego T-Murda to the world. Via a series of Instagram videos, the actress covers songs from Drake, Young Thug, Rae Sremmurd and others, inciting laughs with her oft-perplexed recitations.

  • Drake Says He Wants to Marry Tracee Ellis Ross

    December 2014

    After seeing Ross cover one of his songs on IG, Drake leaves the awestruck comment “I will marry you” under the post. Proposal still pending.

  • Freestyles on Sway in the Morning

    March 2015

    Tracee takes her talents to Sway in the Morning. While there to talk about her show Black-ish, the outgoing entertainer also delivers some fresh bars.

  • Pines for Kanye West to Appear on Black-Ish

    April 2015

    Ross tells an Emmy panel that she has plans for a Black-ish episode that would feature Kanye West. “I think he should be a doctor working with my character, Rainbow,” she said. “[Andre] gets worried Rainbow is going to have an affair with [Kanye], but Rainbow has no interest.”

    Prince Williams, Getty Images
    Prince Williams, Getty Images
  • Accused of Shading Tyga at 2015 BET Awards

    June 2015

    While presenting at the 2015 BET Awards, Ross gives a very long and awkward pause before announcing Tyga’s name after rambling off a slew of flattering attributes from the teleprompter. Fans accuse her of shading the rapper. She later clears the air on Instagram, saying she had trouble remembering how to pronounce T. Raww's name, which caused the awkward moment of silence.

  • Raps a Verse Over Big Sean’s “Bounce Back”

    September 2017

    Tracee Ellis Ross and Big Sean appear together on an episode of James Corden's Late Late Show, on the Carpool Karaoke segment. Assuming her T-Murda persona, she drops some original rhymes over the Detroit rapper’s “Bounce Back” beat.

  • Appears in Drake’s “Nice for What” Video

    April 2018

    Drake releases his Karena Evans-directed video for the single “Nice for What.” The star-studded visual features Tracee Ellis Ross, Issa Rae, Tiffany Haddish, Rashida Jones, Letitia Wright and other female icons.

  • Pays Homage to Cardi B, Childish Gambino and More at 2018 AMAs

    October 2018

    The Notorious T.E.R. hosts the 2018 American Music Awards and puts on a show. The actress kicks the show off with a dance routine over a medley of tracks including Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow,” Childish Gambino’s “This Is America,” The Carters’ “Ape Shit” and more.

  • Appears in Tyler, The Creator's “Earfquake” Video

    May 2019

    Ross makes another rap music video cameo. This time she plays the hilarious role of a talk show host in Tyler, The Creator’s “Earfquake” video.

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